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Campaign spending in West St. Paul municipal elections nosedived with the lack of competition. The 2022 election had the lowest total cost in more than 10 years.
- Comparison: The last time elections were this inexpensive in West St. Paul was 2012 for the mayor’s race and 2010 for the Council races. Those were the most recent years with similar uncontested races. It’s a big flip from 2020, which was the most expensive race in history.
- Most expensive: Pat Armon mounted the most expensive campaign, though that’s not saying much since he just barely outspent the least expensive campaign from 2020.
- Least expensive: It’s hard to say who spent the least. Dave Napier and John Justen were both uncontested, and Jake Nelson dropped out. Kimetha “KaeJae” Johnson spent the least in a contested race.
- Most raised: Wendy Berry brought in $3,415, most of it coming in early in the race before it was clear her opponent was dropping out. She didn’t spend nearly that much.
- Where does the money come from?: Most campaigns rely on donations from individual supporters. In the past we’ve seen more self-funded campaigns, but we don’t see any of that this year. Spending from outside groups, which ramped up in 2020, continued this year. Mostly it came from unions, with nearly $1,950 to Berry and $500 to Armon.
Spending Per Race
|Pat Armon (winner)||$1,566|
|Kimetha “KaeJae” Johnson||$300*|
|John Justen (incumbent, uncontested, winner)||$123|
|Wendy Berry (incumbent, winner)||$1,237|
|Jake Nelson (dropped out)||$0*|
|Dave Napier (incumbent, uncontested, winner)||$0|
Want to Run?
If you’ve ever thought about running for office, here’s a look at the average spending for campaigns in West St. Paul:
The cost of running really depends on the competition, as uncontested races are cheap.
Here’s a look at competition in West St. Paul elections in the modern era, where 35% of our elections have been uncontested going back to 1988:
- ISD 197 school board in November 2023 when four seats will be up. Those seats are currently held by Brenda Corbett, Joanne Mansur, Byron Schwab, and Terry Stamman. The filing period will open in July/August 2023.
- West St. Paul in 2024 with three City Council seats and the mayor. Those seats are currently held by Mayor Dave Napier, Julie Eastman in Ward 1, Robyn Gulley in Ward 2, and Lisa Eng-Sarne in Ward 3. The filing period will open in mid-May 2024.
- Our analysis of campaign spending in West St. Paul is based on public campaign finance reports going back to 2008. Not all candidates file reports and it’s not always clear if they did not spend anything or did not report the spending.
- There is a reporting threshold where candidates are not required to report spending less than $750, which could impact these numbers.
- Average cost of running only includes contested races.
- Totals are based on amounts spent, not amounts raised (several candidates have remaining cash on-hand after election expenses. For example, Berry has nearly $2,200 cash on-hand).
This kind of local reporting holds candidates accountable and promotes transparency in our elections. You can support this work by becoming a member.