CHATHAM – Despite Thursday's annual election having the highest number of contested races in several years, fund raising by candidates fell below the three previous elections.
According to campaign finance reports filed last Wednesday, candidates raised a total of $9,873 this year. That's roughly half of last year's $19,601 total raised by two candidates running for a single seat on the board of selectmen. Three candidates running for two seats on the board of selectmen in 2016 also raised more money than this year, a total of $16,435.
Polls at the community center will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. Three candidates – incumbents Cory Metters and Dean Nicastro and former selectman Seth Taylor – are running for two three-year terms on the board of selectmen, while Planning Board Chairman Peter Cocolis and Shellfish Advisory Committee Chairman Jamie Bassett are vying for a one-year term.
Incumbent Priscilla Ford and challenger Kayta Keohler-Rice are running for a five-year term on the housing authority.
Out of the seven candidates, Cocolis raised the most, $7,238, followed by Metters with $1,750. Nicastro reported receipts of $885. Janice O'Connell, who is running unchallenged for a two-year housing authority seat, and Bassett filed forms certifying that they had not received any contributions or made any expenditures. Ford and Keohler-Rice did not file campaign finance reports with the town clerk as of early this week; neither did other uncontested candidates on the ballot.
The Massachusetts Campaign Finance Law requires that candidates for elected office file campaign finance reports whether or not they receive donations or expend money. Reports must be filed eight days prior and 30 days after an election
The law requires that candidates report contributions of $50 or more. Cocolis had 22 donations of $50 or less. The following donors gave $100: Barbara Fouhy, Barnard Pfeifer, George Lane, Dawn Boynton, Victor Di Cristina, Frances Dalmolen, Barbara Geagan, Sarah Bryce, David Strauss and J. Richard Kraycir. Contributing $150 were Eric Whiteley and Edwin Whittaker. Donors giving $250 to Cocolis were David Oppenheim, Gail Oppenheim, Frances Joseph, Richard Reed, and Aaron Polhemus. Cocolis also contributed $3,518.
Metters reported five donors, including a $600 loan from himself and his wife, Rebecca, and a $300 loan from himself. Charles and Shannon Horan gave $100, George Edwin Metters game $200, and Deborah Walther and Bruce Beane gave $500.
Nicastro provided his campaign's only donation of $885.
Taylor's form, filed May 14, five days after the deadline, indicates that he received no donations, although his campaign committee has a balance of $40 from his previous campaign.
Last year's $19,601 total campaign fundraising by Taylor and Shareen Davis, who won the race, was the highest in recent years. The lowest was in 2015, when Nicastro and Metters reported a total of $800 in donations.
Appearing uncontested on the ballot of the May 17 election are Moderator William Litchfield, seeking another three-year term; newcomer Joseph Auciello seeking a one-year unexpired term on the Monomoy Regional School Committee; incumbent Jo-Anne Sheehan seeking a three-year term on the school committee; and O'Connell seeking a two-year unexpired term on the housing authority. There are no questions on this year's ballot.