AMESBURY — Campaign finance reports show this year’s mayoral race is off to a fast start, on track to be the most expensive election that Amesbury has seen in years.
The four candidates for mayor were required by law this week to file reports on how much they had raised and spent. Entering the month of September, Ken Gray led all candidates with $4,051 raised since the start of the campaign, greatly outpacing his fellow challengers and dwarfing the fundraising totals of opposing candidates in the past few elections.
Gray’s totals also nearly doubled the amount raised by incumbent Mayor Thatcher Kezer at the time of the filing deadline, although Kezer has since retaken the fundraising lead following his campaign kickoff fundraiser on Monday.
Jim Thivierge was third in the fundraising race, reporting receipts of $130. Jeffrey Hoover’s totals are unknown at this time because he did not return his campaign finance papers by the deadline. The City Clerk’s office is currently following up on the matter.
The campaign finance reports filed this week cover the period between Jan. 1 and Aug. 30 and disclose the money raised and spent by candidates during that time. State law also requires candidates to disclose donors who give more than $50.
The report states Kezer had raised $2,150 as of Aug. 30. Kezer said at his Monday fundraiser, he raised an addition $3,500. Gray said he has not raised any money since the report was filed.
Among Kezer’s donors was Planning Board member David Frick ($150); four SPS New England executives, including CEO Wayne Capolupo ($250), president Philip Capolupo and his wife Nicole ($250 each) and treasurer Karen Chandler of Salisbury ($250); and Northern Essex Community College administrator David Tibbetts ($250).
Gray’s donors included District 3 City Councilor Donna McClure ($250), City Council candidates Erin Butt and Dave Haraske ($100 each), campaign manager Mike Buetow ($100), Greenery Designs owner Terrance Gleason ($100), and former Republican U.S. Congress candidate Richard Tisei and his real estate partner Bernard Starr III ($500 each).