By Tim Eberly
Havre mayoral candidates Mike Shortell and Bob Rice have raised almost equal sums of money during their campaigns, but Shortell's spending is nearly triple that of Rice because the Democratic candidate took out a loan to supplement his contributions.
Excluding the $1,500 loan, Shortell raised $2,315 between April 30 and Oct. 20. Rice, the Republican, has received $2,230 $85 less than Shortell.
The deadline for filing campaign finance reports for those on the ballot in the Nov. 6 city election was Thursday.
Shortell spent $2,860.55 between April 30 and Oct. 20, while Rice spent $984.35 of his campaign account.
"I've been trying to run a conservative campaign," Rice said. "I don't think throwing money at the situation is the solution."
The single biggest drain on Shortell's campaign was the $648 he shelled out for posters, cards and notepads. Griggs Printing & Publishing billed Shortell $433 for his brochures. Almost $300 was allotted for radio advertisements, while equipment for signs wood, staples and stakes required $248.
"I just did what I thought I should do," Shortell said. "It's the first time I ever ran for political office. I don't know what is an aggressive campaign or what isn't. I'm starting from scratch; I've got to buy all my brochures and yard signs. And advertisement costs a lot too. It all adds up."
Rice spent the majority of his money on envelopes and campaign posters from Hill County Printing, a total cost of $309.85. He also purchased campaign hats from Master Sports for $81.
Notable contributions to Shortell's campaign were the $50 apiece he received from Police Chief Kevin Olson and Mayor Phyllis Leonard. Roger Barber, the provost and vice chancellor of MSU-Northern, donated $100 to Shortell's campaign. Victor Miller, the mayor of Harlem, also chipped in $50 for Shortell's effort. Sharla Tester, wife of Montana state Sen. Jon Tester, provided Shortell with $50.
Rice's supporters included Penney and Jerry Bergren, the owners of P.J.'s Restaurant, who contributed $100 apiece. Seven retirees donated a total of $500. Larry Adams, proprietor of Larry Adams Tree Service, gave $100. A spaghetti dinner on Oct. 2, held by Rice's backers, added $190 to his campaign.
In his first attempt at earning a seat on the City Council, Ward 4 Democratic candidate Allen "Woody" Woodwick has gleaned more contributions than any of his peers. Between June 22 and Sept. 26, Woodwick collected $755. His opponent, Republican Erik Meis, did not file campaign finance reports.
A candidate is not required to file reports unless contributions exceed $500. Along with Meis, Ward 1 Democratic candidate Dana West, and Ward 2 candidates Richard Pierson and Jerry Hanson did not file finance reports.
In the race for the city judge position, incumbant Joyce Perszyk spent $261 of her $410 total contributions on political advertisements in the Havre Daily News.
"I planned ahead," Perszyk said. "I knew what I was going to spend my money on. I knew I was going to spend it on advertising costs. And I cut out things this time that I thought I didn't need."
Perszyk's opponent, lawyer Carl White, collected a hefty $1,500 $1,000 during the primary and $500 for the general election. White spent $403 on campaign posters from Grigg's Printings, an amount just $7 less than Perszyk's total contributions. White spent $1049.39 from Aug. 8 to Sept. 26.