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Gerlach outspending opponents in Mission city council race

In a race that’s mostly featured candidates ponying up their own money on the campaign trail, campaign finance reports for Mission’s special city council election show candidate Marissa Ortega Gerlach spending more than all three of her opponents combined.

Gerlach had, as of last Friday, doled out almost $90,000 on the campaign trail, largely out of her own pocket.

Noel Salinas, who’s launched the second most financially robust campaign, had spent less than half of that.

Gerlach, Salinas, Peter Geddes and Abraham Padron have sprinted to the end of a fast-paced special election triggered by the resignation announcement of Place 3 Councilman Abiel Flores in October.

Election Day is Saturday; 2,203 people cast early votes in the election, according to unofficial tallies from the county.

Despite the short campaign timeline, the race has stirred up its share of controversy.

The city’s firefighter union and one of its police unions drew criticism last month for their endorsement selection process, which at least one candidate criticized as unfair.

The city’s other police union wound up declining to endorse, citing the election timeline.

In the wake of that controversy, an attack ad text message against Padron prompted legal threats over allegations that it was some sort of false flag operation fraudulently portraying its senders as a San Antonio-based company and one of Salinas’ campaign consultants, both of whom deny being involved.

Campaign tensions have run high concurrently with a good deal of money being expended on the race.

Campaign finance reports through last Friday show that Gerlach had spent a little over $89,000 on the race, funding the vast majority of those expenses herself.

Salinas followed, spending about $39,000.

Those campaigns dwarfed those of Padron and Geddes, who had spent $13,600 and about $7,500, respectively.

Gerlach dedicated a little more than a quarter of her spending to campaign labor and consultants, including $10,000 to political consultant Miguel “Mike” Robledo’s company, The Positive Program.

She dedicated about a fifth of her expenses to advertising with this outlet and The Monitor.

Most of the rest of Gerlach’s expenses went toward events, advertising and advertising materials.

Salinas self-funded his campaign.

He dedicated over a quarter of his spending to advertising with this outlet and another quarter to signage and printed materials.

Salinas paid $2,000 apiece to Norma Garza and Maribel Salinas for consulting, and almost $3,500 to Marco Perez’s MAP Entertainment Media for a video advertisement and texting services.

A radio ad, printing fees and event expenses accounted for most of the rest of Salinas’ spending.

Padron largely self-funded his campaign as well.

He spent the majority of his money — about $8,000 of it — on payments to six individuals described as “get out to vote” or “get out the” vote expenses.

Another grand went to one of those individuals through an undescribed expense and Padron used the rest of his spending for signage.

Geddes, in contrast to the opposition, funded the majority of his campaign through smaller-sum contributions from supporters.

His campaign finance reports detail the minutiae he spent money on: flags, signs, t-shirts, car magnets.

Almost half of Geddes’ spending went toward signage, though he also spent on other printed campaign materials and sprung for an almost $1,500 meet-and-greet event last month.

1 Comment

  1. Chuy on December 18, 2023 at 6:05 am

    Im sure that the ROI on the 90k will be there soon enough. Thats a lot of money to pony up to just be a public official with no self interest other than the community’s best interest. Mission will be the new La Joya in no time.

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