Loser of Gwent PCC elections spent more than others combined
NEW figures show how a retired policeman who lost last year’s police and crime commissioner election spent more than his three challengers combined.
Llanbradach’s Chris Wright, who came fourth in November's poll, told the Argus that the £13,845 he spent on his campaign was money well spent.
Both Mr Wright and the elected PCC Ian Johnston yesterday said that they funded their campaigns out of their own pocket – and former Tory third-placed candidate Nick Webb said the requirement for £5,000 deposit should be revised.
According to data from the Electoral Commission Mr Wright spent £13,845 on his campaign, including £11,396 on advertising, £767 on Transport, £285 on public meetings and £795 on accommodation.
In contrast Mr Johnston, Mr Webb and Labour’s Hamish Sandison spent a combined £11,565.94.
Runner-up Mr Sandison spent the second largest amount at £5,177 while Mr Johnston, who went on to win the election, spent £4,343. Mr Webb spent a total of £2,045.
Mr Sandison and Mr Webb were recorded as receiving donations equivalent to their total spending, while no donations over £50 were listed for the two independents.
The Argus asked Mr Wright if he felt £13,000 was money well spent: “Yes. It’s something I feel very strongly about. I felt I was the right person for the job and you have to put your money where your mouth is.
“And I did.”
Mr Wright said the cash for the campaign, and the £5,000 deposit that candidates had to pay, was all his own. He said the £11,000 on advertising included a website and flyers as well as ads on Facebook and in newspapers.
Mr Johnston said the £3,251 he spent on advertising went on 200,000 leaflets, 180,000 of which were delivered. He said all of the cash, including the deposit, came from his own funds.
“I’m not complaining after the event, but I still feel it was unfair in the way independents were expected to fund the election as opposed to people that had party political support,” he said.
“We had lots of friends and family and supporters who came from places we least expected it. It was hard work for a small team."
Mr Sandison explained that his campaign funds came from constituency Labour parties, with Labour paying for the deposit. He said the figures “hopefully show that you can’t buy an election”.
He said candidates couldn’t afford to get their message out to everyone in Gwent as much as Independents found it tricky.
Mr Webb said campaign funds came from donations at local Tory events, although he said there was one big donation of a website and that money for the deposit was loaned by the central Conservative party.
“There are two aspects that could do with revision. £5,000 is too large a figure which will put off independents,” he said, adding the requirement for 100 signatures on nomination forms is also an issue.
“Directly elected roles do have the attraction that you reach beyond standard parties,” he said.
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