More money didn’t equal more votes in New Westminster school trustee race

Spending thousands of dollars on the New Westminster school board race didn’t translate into more votes, but it didn’t hurt either.

Team Cote trustee candidates Dee Beattie and Mark Gifford spent the most money of all school trustee candidates in the 2018 municipal election, but they came second and fourth in the polls, respectively.

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It was first-time candidate and Team Cote running mate Anita Ansari who topped the polls with more than 6,800 votes. Ansari, however, spent the least of all Team Cote trustee candidates at $6,917, according to financial disclosure statements released by Elections BC on Tuesday.

new west trustee race 2018
Anita Ansari topped the polls in the 2018 school trustee race, but she spent the least when compared to her Team Cote running mates. Photo: City of New Westminster

Beattie, meanwhile, spent $11,047 on her campaign, but this included $4,240 left over from her failed run for trustee in the 2016 byelection.

Gifford spent $8,525 on his campaign while Maya Russell spent $6,934.

Gurveen Dhaliwal, who also ran under the Team Cote banner, spent $8,349. She was also the biggest fundraiser in the trustee race, earning more than $8,000 from some notable donors, including Burnaby Lougheed MLA Katrina Chen, New Westminster-Burnaby MP Peter Julian, New Westminster MLA Judy Darcy, former city councillor Bill Harper, and Team Cote city council candidates Mary Trentadue, Patrick Johnstone, Jonathan Cote and Nadine Nakagawa.

Team Cote mayoral, council and trustee candidates also declared $46,745 in shared election expenses during the campaign period, between Sept. 22 and Oct. 20. Trustee candidates’ share of these expenses ranged from $3,400 to $4,500.

In total, Team Cote school trustee candidates outspent their New Westminster Progressives opponents by more than $10,000.

The Progressives, who ran as an official electoral organization and shared their funds between four candidates, including Cyrus Sy, Lisa Falbo, JP LeBerg and Danielle Connelly, spent more than $30,581 on their campaign for school board compared to the more than $40,950 spent by Team Cote candidates.

Connelly was the only Progressive candidate to be elected.

The only independent candidate to win a seat on the board was incumbent Mary Lalji.

Lalji spent $1,587 on her campaign and received only one donation – $1,000 from Kurt Wipp, owner of Piva Modern Italian.

Other candidates, including Steve Tsonev, Scott McIntosh, Cathy McCallum, Lisa Graham and Alejandro Diaz, who all ran as independents, spent between $176 and $3,900 on their campaigns. Doug Woodward spent nothing.

How much did they spend?

Dee Beattie (Team Cote): $11,047

Mark Gifford (Team Cote): $8,349

New Westminster Progressives (Danielle Connelly, Cyrus Sy, Lisa Falbo and JP LeBerg): $30,581

Gurveen Dhaliwal (Team Cote): $7,703

Anita Ansari (Team Cote): $6,917

Maya Russell (Team Cote): $6,934

Alejandro Diaz (independent): $3,932

Mary Lalji (independent): $1,587

Steve Tsonev (independent): $884

Cathy McCallum (independent): $844

Scott McIntosh (independent): $200

Lisa Graham (independent): $176

Doug Woodward (independent): $0

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