File photo Dollars spent campaigning didn’t translate into success at the polls in White Rock and Surrey’s 2018 civic election races.

In White Rock and Surrey civic campaigns, spending didn’t equal success

Elections BC figures show expenditure didn’t count at polls

Candidate spending didn’t necessarily spell success at the polls in the 2018 civic election.

Democracy Direct candidates swept the field over White Rock Coalition candidates in the October ballot, taking five of seven seats on council, despite the latter group outspending them by close to one and a half times the amount, according to Elections BC disclosure documents released this week.

It was much the same story in Surrey, where the Safe Surrey Coalition, led by now Mayor Doug McCallum, took eight of nine seats on council while spending far less campaigning than former powerhouse civic coalition Surrey First.

In White Rock, overall election expenses for Democracy Direct were $64,864.71, while the previously dominant White Rock Coalition spent $96,082.10 overall.

Independent incumbents Helen Fathers and David Chesney, who topped the polls, spent a total of $3,499.59 and 4,428.65 respectively.

White Rock Coalition councillor candidates, none of whom were elected, spent $7,971.94 each on their campaigns, while the group’s unsuccessful mayoral candidate, Grant Meyer, spent $15,943.83.

By contrast, Democracy Direct councillor candidates Scott Kristjanson, Christopher Trevelyan, Erika Johanson and Anthony Manning spent $2,529.52 each on their successful electoral bids, while Mayor Darryl Walker was elected after spending a total of $5,182.96 on his campaign.

In the Surrey election, Safe Surrey, as a group, spent $237,418.14 on the campaign, with further spending by candidates amounting to $9,871.34, for an overall total of $247,289.48.

Surrey First – which elected only Coun. Linda Annis – spent more than three times as much, for a total of $817,136.65.

The splinter group Integrity Now, made up of former Surrey First incumbents Bruce Hayne, Barbara Steele and Dave Woods, spent $224,915.77.

A change in election finance rules meant that political hopefuls relied on individual contributions, unless they raised funds ahead of Oct. 31, 2017, when new rules took effect that prohibit corporate and union donations and limit individual donations to $1,200.

– with files from Amy Reid

Editor’s note: Due to an error in its submissions to Elections B.C. Democracy Direct overstated its expenditures in the 2018 municipal election. In fact, DDWR spent $24,620.61 on its local campaign. A subsequent story was published Wednesday in the Peace Arch News.

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