Candidates for Newport’s three city council ward seats appear to be far more active raising and spending funds than those running for at-large seats, according to campaign finance reports filed on Oct. 6 with the state Board of Elections. The reports were due 28 days before the election.

The most active fundraiser since the last filing period in July was Charles Holder, who raised $16,609 during the latest period in his effort to win the seat vacated by Lynn Ceglie, who is running for an at-large seat. Holder’s opponent, Kim Salerno, raised $6,700 during the period, which includes a $1,000 loan.

During this COVID-19 period, fundraising and some traditional spending have become difficult. Candidates on a local level often rely upon fundraising events from large gatherings to house parties, and funds are often spent on rallies and appearances at places like senior housing, where candidates find food as a great way to engage potential voters.

Many of the expenses have been for local media, print materials, mailings, and consultants

We’ll look at fundraising in many local races and begin here with the Newport City Council. Here’s a look at the council ward and at-large races.

  • Ward 1: Incumbent Angela McCalla has a balance of $4,211 compared to her opponent, Hugo DeAscentis, Jr., whose balance was $451 on Oct 6.
  • Ward 2: This race has seen far more financial activity than the other city council races. Holder raised $16,609 during the period from July to Oct. 6, the total of all funds he’s raised. During that period, he also spent $2,142.  Holder, who is the operations manager for Midtown Oyster Bar and Surf Club, received several donations from individuals involved in the area’s hospitality industry, plus significant donations from individuals in New York City and Boston. His opponent, Kim Salerno, reported contributions of $6,700, including a $1,000 loan. Among Salerno’s more interesting donors was Joseph Eichenberger ($500), who was listed as working for the European Bank of Reconstruction in London.
  • Ward 3: Councilwoman Kathryn Leonard reported a balance of $22,512, after raising $5,450 from July to Oct. 6, and spending $8,796. Listed among her expenses was $150 donated to the David Salvatore Committee. Salvatore has been on the Providence City Council since 2010 and most recently has been a strong advocate for gun reform. Leonard’s opponent, Paul Marshall, reported a balance of $3,778, with $2,029 raised during the period and $3,137 in expenses. Among his donors was Meagan Landry, who ran in the primary election for an at-large seat and lost but is now running as a write-in candidate for an at-large seat.
  • Financial activity among at-large candidates has been considerably less than the ward races. Here’s a look at each candidate:
    • Elizabeth Evans Cullen reported a fund balance of $1,576.
    • Elizabeth Fuerte reported a fund balance of $737. Among her donors was Mayor Jamie Bova.
    • Mayor Jamie Bova reported a fund balance of $2,763. She raised $550 during the period between July and Oct. 6 and spent $1,720 on her campaign.
    • Councilwoman Jeanne-Marie Napolitano reported a fund balance of $5,962. She raised $3,700 during the period between July and Oct. 6 and spent $1,376 on her campaign. Among her donors was former Senate President Theresa Paiva-Weed.
    • Kevin Michaud reported a fund balance of $1,658, with contributions of $2,552 from July to Oct. 6, and expenses of $3,090.
    • Lynn Underwood Ceglie, currently the second ward councilwoman, who is running at-large had a balance of $3,933, with $1,345 of that raised from July to Oct. 6.
    • Councilwoman Susan Taylor’s fund balance was $2,451. She raised $1,350 during the period and spent $727. 
    • Meagan Landry, who lost in the primary election, but is now running a write-in campaign. Landry’s fund balance was $906.