Bracey opens up huge financial edge over Helfrich

Jason Addy

Michael Helfrich says he thinks of himself as a community activist first and a politician never in his campaign to unseat two-term York City Mayor Kim Bracey, and the latest campaign finance reports seem to reflect that.

Bracey entered the final two weeks before Tuesday's primary with almost four times as much money to spend as Helfrich, who was financially outraised and outspent by the mayor between Jan. 1 and May 1, according to campaign finance records.

On May 1, Bracey had $16,693 and Helfrich had $4,562 to spend in the final two weeks of the primary season, the reports show.

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York City Mayor Kim Bracey and York City Council president Michael Helfrich prepare to debate at the Alliance of Neighborhoods Association's candidates night event at Buchart-Horn. Monday, May 1, 2017. Helfrich is challenging Bracey for the mayor's office in the May 16 primary.

Helfrich’s campaign committee, We the People of York City, raised $7,239 for his election efforts during that time, while Bracey brought in just less than $12,000 to add to her campaign committee’s balance of $28,275 coming into 2017, the reports show.

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Bracey’s campaign used its substantial fundraising advantage to dwarf Helfrich’s spending in the first four months.

Bracey paid out $23,576 — nine times as much as the $2,677 spent by Helfrich’s campaign, the reports show. Helfrich also spent $521 out of pocket on T-shirts, office supplies and Facebook advertisements.

Notable donors: Several well-known Yorkers showed up in the campaign finance reports for both candidates.

Robert Kinsley, CEO of Kinsley Construction, chipped in $3,000 for Bracey’s re-election campaign, and York County Commissioner Doug Hoke gave $1,000, the reports show.

York City Councilman Henry Nixon opted to support Bracey instead of his council colleague Helfrich, giving $250, while York County judicial candidate Sandra Thompson contributed $100 to the incumbent.

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State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York City, who challenged Bracey for her seat in 2013, contributed $100 to Helfrich’s campaign, while Helfrich’s campaign for city council donated $171 to his mayoral campaign, the report shows.

Dylan Bauer, vice president of real estate development for RSDC, formerly Royal Square Development and Construction, kicked in $300 to Helfrich’s campaign, while the York Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 627 gave $250, according to the report.

Expenses: Bracey paid more in rent for her campaign office — $3,000 over five months — than Helfrich has spent during his entire campaign.

Her re-election campaign spent $5,230 on campaign literature and mailings by Anstadt Printing, $4,050 on consulting and support services from BB&C Strategies and $2,566 for website design by Spot Media, the reports show.

Bracey also paid $1,300 for campaign T-shirts and $1,154 for electricity at her campaign headquarters.

In the first four months of 2017, Helfrich had only a few large campaign expenses, spending $1,215 on yard signs, $857 on T-shirts and $500 for website design, the reports show.

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City council: Two-term councilman  Nixon blew his three competitors out of the water in terms of fundraising, bringing in $22,875 between Jan. 1 and May 1.

Council members Judy Ritter-Dickson and Renee Nelson raised $3,174 and $500, respectively, while challenger Anne Clark raised $1,225, according to the reports.

Nixon, Ritter-Dickson, Nelson and Clark are running to fill three open seats on the York City Council in Tuesday's primary.

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Nixon had nine donors give at least $1,000, while he  gave his own campaign $4,000.

Nixon’s top donors include county commissioner Doug Hoke and Think Loud CEO Bill Hynes, who each gave $1,000. Former state Rep. Kevin Schreiber’s campaign committee gave $750.

Think Loud founding member Chad Taylor and his wife, Lisa,  gave Nixon’s campaign a total of $500, the reports show.

Schreiber  chipped in $250 each to Clark’s and Ritter-Dickson’s campaigns.

The York Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 627 contributed $100 to Clark and $500 to Nelson, which was the only contribution to Nelson, the reports show.

Campaign yard signs were the biggest expense for three of the four candidates, with Nixon spending $1,093, Ritter-Dickson spending $911 and Clark spending $340.

As of May 1, Nixon had nearly $19,000 to spend before Tuesday’s Democratic primary, which will determine the makeup of the council since no Republican is running for a seat.

Ritter-Dickson was sitting on $1,401, and Clark had $15 after the reporting period ended on May 1. Nelson spent every penny of the $500 she raised during the period.