Mayor Elorza now has $525K in campaign money

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza is going to have plenty of money to run for re-election next year.

The first-term Democrat reported $525,000 cash on hand after raising $71,440 during the three-month period that ended Sept. 30, according to a disclosure filed Tuesday evening with the R.I. Board of Elections.

That means Elorza is starting his campaign with a significant financial edge over his only two announced opponents, community advocate Kobi Dennis and perennial candidate Chris Young. Dennis did not begin fundraising until after the Sept. 30 quarterly filing deadline and Young does not raise money.

Elorza’s donors for the third quarter of 2017 included an array of lawyers, lobbyists, developers and other individuals with city interests. He received $1,000 each from Bruce, Christopher and Carol Waterson of Waterson Terminal Services, the company that manages operations at ProvPort. Fourteen employees from prominent law firm Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C. contributed $4,700 to Elorza during the quarter.

On the spending side, Elorza paid $20,033 to CFO Consulting Group and CFO Compliance, the two firms that handle his fundraising and reporting responsibilities. The companies were founded by Brett Smiley, the city’s former chief operating officer who now works as Gov. Gina Raimondo’s chief of staff.

Missing from the mayor’s spending report was a $1,000 donation he pledged to Anchor Learning Academy, a recovery high school at the Providence Center. Elorza said he would make the contribution after one of his donors – club owner Donny Sanchez – was charged with money laundering and multiple counts of failing to file tax returns in September. A spokesperson for Elorza’s campaign said the donation would be sent Wednesday.

The mayor’s political action committee – One Providence PAC – saw little action during the third quarter, raising no money and paying CFO Compliance $412.

Among the other individuals flirting with challenging Elorza next year, Democratic state Rep. John Lombardi led the way in fundraising, bringing in $23,000 during the third quarter to bring his total war chest to $82,317. State Rep. Ray Hull, another Democrat, is sitting on $52,860 after raising just $250 during the three-month period.

On the City Council, acting President Sabina Matos reported $8,715 cash on hand; Councilman David Salvatore, another Democrat who has publicly expressed interest in running for mayor, led all of his colleagues with $48,182 as of Sept. 30.

Note: This report has been edited to reflect that the mayor’s campaign will make a donation to the Anchor Learning Academy Wednesday.

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Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan