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Madison mayoral candidates

Candidates for Madison mayor are (clockwise from top left): Mo Cheeks, Raj Shukla, Satya Rhodes-Conway, Toriana Pettaway, Nick Hart and Paul Soglin.

According to campaign finance reports filed Monday, environmental advocate Raj Shukla raised more money than any of his opponents in the Madison mayoral race over the first five weeks of 2019.

The field of candidates continues to outpace fundraising from previous election cycles.

Five of the six candidates report raising a total of $120,405 between Jan. 1 and Feb. 4, according to the latest round of campaign finance reports. Four years ago, five candidates raised $90,311 in the same reporting period.

Shukla, executive director of the River Alliance of Wisconsin, raised $37,735. His campaign spent $65,271 during the first few weeks of 2019, including $43,000 on a television ad that aired Jan. 29. Shukla’s campaign reports $38,938 in cash on hand.

“I think it is clear from the fundraising reports that Raj has the energy behind him heading into the February primary,” said Amanda Brink, Shukla’s campaign manager. “Madison voters are responding to his Green Growth Agenda, his vision for our city — affordable housing, bus rapid transit, renewable energy and early childhood care.”

Mayor Paul Soglin reported raising $35,336 in the five-week period. His campaign has spent $37,926, has an outstanding $11,750 in loans and reports a cash balance of $72,547, the most of any candidate.

“Our strong fundraising totals show people trust Paul Soglin to get things done, to move Madison forward and to develop innovative and effective initiatives that meet the challenges we face and build on the successes we’ve had,” said Melissa Mulliken, Soglin’s campaign manager.

Former alder Satya Rhodes-Conway, who manages the Mayors Innovation Project through the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, reported raising $31,020 and spending $45,967 from Jan. 1 through Feb. 4. Her campaign has a cash balance of $10,149 and an outstanding $2,000 in loans.

"Almost 650 people have joined our grassroots campaign by donating or volunteering. And with an average contribution of just over $100, it's clear that we're a people powered campaign, not funded by corporate PACs or big monied interests," Rhodes-Conway said. "I'm proud of the campaign we've built and confident we have the resources for victory on Tuesday."

Mo Cheeks, current District 10 alder and executive director of business development at MIOsoft, raised $15,608 in the reporting period. For the previous reporting period of July 1 through Dec. 31, 2018, Cheeks led all candidates in fundraising with $113,118.

His campaign has spent $32,801 in the reporting period and has a cash balance of $58,170.

“Our early 2019 fundraising continued to show strong support for Mo’s vision of an inclusive, innovative and safe city,” said Brita Olsen, campaign manager for Cheeks. “Madisonians are ready for Mo to be our next mayor. “

Cheeks’ campaign also released a television ad, but the ad purchase fell after the reporting deadline, Olsen said. The next campaign finance reporting deadline for the period of Feb. 5 to March 18 is March. 25. The primary election is on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Toriana Pettaway, who works for the city as racial equity coordinator, reported raising $706 and spending $189. Pettaway’s campaign has a cash balance of $721.

Pettaway is running as a write-in candidate. On Monday, Pettaway’s campaign manager, Eric Upchurch, asked the other candidates for mayor to consider dropping out and supporting her.

“Imagine the courage it would inspire to show the leaders in Madison are capable of relinquishing power to the most marginalized and being led by their expertise,” Upchurch wrote in the letter.

Matt Baier, campaign manager for local comedian Nick Hart, said Hart’s campaign is under the reporting requirement and has raised $355.

Candidates who do not anticipate accepting contributions, making disbursements or incurring loans and other obligations in a total amount exceeding more than $2,000 in a calendar year are exempt from submitting campaign finance reports.

The primary election is Feb. 19. The two candidates with the most votes will be on the general election ballot April 2.

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Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.

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