by Paul Bowers
The 2015 Charleston mayoral race is still a year away, and already the contenders have raised more than twice as much money as Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.'s opponents did in the 2011 election.
Riley has said that after 40 years in office, he will not seek re-election in 2015, throwing open the starting gates for what is sure to be one of the most crowded races in city history. As of November 2013, eight contenders had already announced they were considering a run (the City Paper is currently polling potential candidates to get an updated list). And while the filing period for the mayoral race has not yet officially opened, three people have already started filing candidate campaign disclosures with the State Ethics Commission: Maverick Southern Kitchens Founder Richard "Dick" Elliott, commercial realtor and former city Director of Economic Development John J. Tecklenburg, and attorney Paul Tinkler.
As of their latest campaign disclosures, filed in mid-October, the three candidates have raised a combined $214,810.24. In the 2011 mayoral election, the four candidates who challenged Riley raised a combined $94,064.77, a figure that was dwarfed by Riley's $527,329.41 campaign.
Tecklenburg, who announced his candidacy in April 2014, has taken an early lead in the fundraising race with just over $100,000 in contributions. "Any citywide race will be expensive, and it will take some hundreds of thousands of dollars to have a well-financed campaign, which we plan to have," Tecklenburg says.
Here's how Riley's opponents stacked up in 2011:
And here's how the 2015 contenders are faring so far: