Well, wasn’t that a party.
In one fell swoop, Newmarket’s then-mayoral candidate John Taylor raised about 65 per cent of his total campaign donations at one early October fundraising event, 2018 municipal election finance documents show.
The Old Town Hall bash attracted 38 supporters who each dished out the maximum campaign donation allowable of $1,200 per person, tallying $45,600.
“It’s one of the ways I fundraise every election,” Mayor Taylor said. “The event is still one-off donations, it’s really not much different than traditional fundraising. It’s just a way to recognize people who were able to donate the maximum and thank them at an event.”
Excluding the $11,539 cost to put on the function, which included a $4,100 LCBO tab, $2,900 for food, $2,600 to capture the event in audio/video, and the remainder going to a musician, flowers, decorations and hall permits, Taylor netted about $34,000 for his campaign war chest in a single evening.
His ultimately successful bid for Newmarket’s top political job cost $67,488.
Taylor handily bested the lone challenger for the mayor’s chair in the October 2018 local election, pulling in 14,351 votes to mayoral candidate Joe Wamback’s 4,825.
In total, Taylor’s campaign contributions amounted to $67,350, all of which were donations exceeding $100 or more. Roughly two-thirds of the 76 individual donations made to Taylor’s campaign were between $1,000 and the $1,200 maximum.
Taylor’s list of campaign contributors features some prominent individuals from the Newmarket community, including hometown hockey star and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, who donated $1,000.
Taylor also spent about $35,000 reaching out to voters with a mix of traditional campaign tactics such as advertising, brochures, flyers and elections signs, digital initiatives that included a website, videos and social media, and a live telephone-calling campaign that rang in at $6,600 on its own.
On the other hand, Taylor’s competitor on the campaign trail, Wamback, bankrolled nearly his entire campaign himself — intentionally, according to his municipal election expenses document.
Wamback, a semi-retired engineer who runs the Canadian Crime Victim Foundation , which provides free psychological counselling to victims of crime in York Region, ran on a fiscally conservative platform that called for tighter controls on town spending, increased transparency and accountability, and no tax increases.
He collected $1,800 in donor contributions.
“We never asked people to contribute because we believed if they felt that my message was what they believed in, that they would contribute on their own,” Wamback said.
Wamback spared no expense in his quest for the mayor’s chair when it came to election signs, shelling out about $11,700 for the campaign necessity.
“My signs were very, very expensive. I wanted quality signs. I didn’t want paper bag signs or plastic bag signs on wire hangers. I didn’t want cheap signs,” Wamback said. “I hired a graphic artist to do them and I paid a professional to create and make these signs. We didn’t have a lot of them, but the ones that were there I was very proud of.”
“That’s just part of what I do,” he added. “If I do anything, I want to do it right. I wanted people to recognize that there’s quality there.”