Challenger in controller’s race leads in fundraising

    Challenger Brett Mandel leads incumbent City Controller Alan Butkovitz in fundraising for the Democratic primary so far, according to campaign finance reports filed last week.

    Mandel shows $206,084 on hand as of the end of December, though $50,000 of that is a loan from Mandel to his campaign committee. Butkovitz’s report shows $146,681.

    Two other announced candidates filed reports. Attorney Michael Williams showed $28,747 on hand. Former city attorney Mark Zecca reported $14,003.

    Because the city’s campaign finance law allows donors to make the maximum contribution every calendar year, it was advantageous for candidates’ to mount a fundraising push before the end of the year.

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    Fightin words, as usual

    The May 21 primary will be a re-match for Butkovitz and Mandel, who faced off four years ago. Butkovitz was dismissive of Mandel’s fundraising efforts.

    “Brett obviously manipulated the fundraising for the report,” Butkovitz said. “He put $50,000 in on the last day, which he probably got back the day after.”

    Wrong, Mandell says.

    “I need to show Philadelphia I’m serious about this, and I am,” Mandel said. “If he wants to make a wager about where that money will be, I’m happy to take the bet.”

    Butkovitz also said Mandel’s report shows he’s gotten “in bed with this union-busting movement,” pointing to six contributions totalling nearly $20,000 associated with Post Brothers, the developer involved in a bitter dispute with construction unions over the renovation of the former Goldtex factory at 12th and Wood Sts. in Philadelphia.

    “I think this is going to be a flashpoint,” Butkovitz said. “We’ve gotten substantial union support, and they’re jumping off the ceiling about this.”

    “Butkovitz is jealous,” Mandel said. “I have hundreds of supporters from all across the city. I have supporters who are union members and union supporters, people from every social strata who want to see more accountability and openness in government.”

    Among those who made the maximum $2,900 individual contribution to Mandel are philanthropist Gerry Lenfest and prominent Democratic contributor Peter Buttenwieser.

    Butkovitz said he’s having a major fundraiser February 11th, and will do fine financially.

    Williams and Zecca are newer to the political game, but got a start on funding their campaigns.

    Ten thousand dollars of Williams’ contributions, nearly a third of this total, came from Picciotti & Schoenberg, the law firm where he works.

    More than half of Zecca’s total comes from $11,000 he loaned his camaign.

    Nominating petitions for the primary must be filed by March 12.

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