The old truism says you can't fight city hall. It should carry an addendum in Brainerd to the effect that it's going to cost candidates a little bit of money to win a council seat at that venerable building on Laurel Street.
While the city council filing fee may be only $5, two of the 2002 city council candidates spent more than $2,000 in their campaigns. New at-large member Mary Koep was the top money spender at $2,731.29; and Hilda Lee, an unsuccessful Ward 4 candidate, spent $2,452.99.
Of the 13 city candidates only five spent less than the $750 amount that requires candidates to itemize their expenditures. Two of those five candidates, new council member Kelly Bevans and Jan Lambert, provided an itemized account even though it was not required. If the three candidates who did not itemize are thrown out of the mix the average city candidate spent $1,388.23.
Koep said she didn't remember precisely how much she spent on campaigns during her first stint on the council in the late 1970s, but said the amount was negligible compared to what she spent in 2002.
She said she believes her county campaigns cost in the neighborhood of $4,000 but pointed out that the district included more people and she used direct mail in those campaigns.
Koep said when she decided to run for city council last year she wanted to make every effort to reach the voters. She used radio and newspaper advertisements.
"I think during campaigns people read the newspaper, even more," she said.
Koep said she believed this was the first year that she accepted any campaign contributions. She reported contributions of $250. The remainder was paid out of her own pocket.
Lee answered questions to clarify her expenses but declined to offer many comments about the cost of her city council race. She spent $627.43 of her own money and the balance was paid for with contributions.
"I'm so grateful to the people who supported me," she said.
Following are the expenditures, which are on file in the Brainerd city administrator's office for city candidates in 2002:
Frank Asplund, at large, did not exceed $750.
Kelly Bevans, Ward 2, $300.54.
Donald Crust, mayor, did not exceed $750.
Kevin T. Goedker, mayor, $1,148.27.
Mike Jay, mayor, $1,868.84.
Mary Koep, at large, $2,731.29.
Jan Lambert, Ward 2, $625.17.
Hilda Lee, Ward 4, $2,452.99.
Anne Nelson Fisher, Ward 4, $922.79.
Gary Scheeler, at large, $1,185.50.
Ed Shaw, Ward 2, $1,694.98.
Mark Turner, at large, did not exceed $750.
James Wallin, mayor, $951.94.
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