PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – What do Providence voters think of Mayor Jorge Elorza?
We don’t know. But he does.
Elorza paid Washington, D.C.-based Myers Research $16,500 to conduct a poll of city voters earlier this year, according to a WPRI.com review of his quarterly campaign finance disclosure filed with the R.I. Board of Elections Monday night.
The results of the first-term Democrat’s internal poll have not been released – campaign-related expenditures aren’t subject to the same public records law as taxpayer-funded disbursements – and the mayor’s office has repeatedly declined to answers questions about the survey in recent months.
The poll was conducted several weeks before Elorza delivered an optimistic State of the City address, suggesting the Providence is “beginning a resurgence.” In his budget address last week, he warned that the city “risks dying a slow and painful death” if it doesn’t address its long-term financial challenges.
Aside from the poll, Elorza’s campaign reported spending $22,518 with CFO Consulting Group and CFO Compliance, two firms owned by Brett Smiley, the city’s chief operating officer. CFO Consulting Group focuses primarily on fundraising while CFO Compliance assists candidates and political action committees with filing accurate campaign finance reports. Since Elorza took office in 2015, his campaign has paid the two firms $110,081.
For a Providence mayor, Elorza has been a prolific fundraiser since taking office.
Records show he raised $433,652 between Jan. 1, 2015 and March 30, 2016. By comparison, former Mayor Angel Taveras brought in just over $400,000 during his first 15 months in office between 2011 and 2012.
During the first quarter of 2016, Elorza raised $55,490 from 144 individuals and one political action committee, the local affiliate of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). All told, Elorza is sitting on a $203,875 war chest.
Elsewhere in the city, fundraising was relatively quiet.
Because Providence City Council members are not up for reelection – their four-year terms expire in 2018 – only three councilors reported raising any money at all.
Council President Pro Tempore Sabina Matos brought in $11,870; Councilman Sam Zurier reported raising $7,455; and Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris brought in $150.