Contributions in Ames mayoral and city council race total more than Story County median income

Victoria Szopinski was motivated by the 2016 presidential election to run for mayor of Ames.

K. Rambo

Including in-kind contributions, there was $51,066.02 raised for the mayoral and City Council elections in Ames.

That is $628.02 more than the median income in Story County in 2015, according to the American Community Survey five-year estimate by the United States Census Bureau.

Here is where the money came from, and how it was spent.

Victoria Szopinski – Mayoral Candidate

$20,610.27 raised

$19,633.22 in expenditures

Szopinski’s campaign finance records show her campaign received 16 donations from out of state including Texas, California, Illinois, Nebraska, Washington and New York.

Szopinski received 45 unitemized donations, a donation under $250 where no information is available for the donor.

The Szopinski campaign spent $397.07 on food over the course of 22 meetings to discuss campaign matters. $6,815.65 was spent on design services. $451.65 was spent on campaign photography. $5,533.10 was spent on printing services for campaign materials like signs, pamphlets, buttons and t-shirts.

The majority of the remaining expenditures were spent on website costs, miscellaneous supplies like pens and rubber bands, mailing supplies, gifts for volunteers and fundraising supplies.

Most interesting expenditures: $843.02 on coasters, $1,364.99 on postage stamps.

John Haila – Mayoral Candidate

$19,053.05 raised ($868.05 in-kind)

$14,901.19 in expenditures

Haila’s campaign finance records show his campaign received one out-of-state donation. The donation came from Haila’s brother in Colorado.

Haila’s campaign accepted one unitemized donation.

Haila contributed $6,000 to his campaign and if removed, 29% of his campaign funding came from real estate agents and homebuilders.

The Haila campaign spent $778.63 on food for fundraising events. $201.70 was spent on Facebook advertising. $12,782.89 was spent on campaign advertising including signs, door hangers and Haila branded merchandise like notepads and pens.

Most interesting expenditure: $700 spent on Crowdskout, a Washington D.C. based software company that specializes in data analytics and customer relationship management for political campaigns and activist groups.

David Martin – Third Ward Candidate

$6,914.46 raised ($527.93 in-kind)

$2,454.54 in expenditures

Martin’s campaign received nine out-of-state donations, four of which came from family members. Donations came from California, Texas, Indiana, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Oregon and Virginia.

Martin’s campaign reported two unitemized contributions, one of which was from a “pass-the-hat” at a campaign event.

Martin loaned $500 to his campaign and has since been reimbursed.

The Martin campaign spent $791.39 on signs and printed campaign materials. $500 was spent on a brochure design. The remainder of the expenditures were spent on miscellaneous office supplies and postage costs.

Most interesting expenditure: The lack of expenditures. The Martin campaign spent $1,740.48 less than opponent Rob Bowers, even though he raised $2,426.22 more than him.

Rob Bowers – Third Ward Candidate

$4,488.24 raised ($228.24 in-kind)

$4,195.02 in expenditures

The Bowers’ campaign received one out-of-state donation, it was from Bowers’ sister-in-law. Bowers listed no unitemized contributions.

Bowers donated $500 to his campaign, including $300 of the initial $350 that he used for the first three months of his campaign. Bowers did not report a donation between May 6 and Aug. 11.

The Bowers campaign spent $3,409.36 on printing campaign materials including signs, postcards and brochures. $765.11 was spent on postage.

Most interesting expenditure: Again, a lack of expenditure, but this time it is a specific type of expenditure. Bowers was the only candidate not to use campaign money to buy food for meetings or campaign events.

Full records can be found at