Elections BC filings show the two heavy hitters in last year's provincial election for the West Vancouver-Sea to Sky riding were also the biggest spenders.
BC Liberal MLA Jordan Sturdy had the largest war chest and ran up the highest bill during the 2020 election, with the Green and NDP candidates respectively trailing.
That pattern of spending mirrored the actual results—Sturdy won, with Green candidate Jeremy Valeriote losing just by a razor's edge. Both were the biggest spenders. NDP hopeful Keith Murdoch was a distant third in both the election and spending.
The financial information for candidates was released on Feb. 1, for the 2020 provincial election.
Incumbent Sturdy received about $66,000 in contributions, virtually all coming from the BC Liberal Party.
He wound up spending over $55,000 in total, with roughly $51,000 of that spending happening during the campaign period.
The period is worth noting, as it's part of the criteria regarding mandated limits on spending.
B.C. laws prevent a candidate from spending more than $58,000 during the campaign period, which is defined as the time between when an election is called and the close of voting on general voting day.
Some spending is not subject to the limits, such as accounting, nomination-paper fees, and personal expenses.
Sturdy spent the most on advertising, shelling out more than $38,000.
Telephone canvassers cost thousands of dollars, and money was also doled out to local media, such as The Chief, Pique Newsmagazine, the North Shore News, and Mountain FM by Sturdy.
Sturdy’s office told The Chief that the research work that Politikos provided was before any of the all-candidates meetings.
In an email, Doug Munroe of Politikos said the candidates and organizer involved with the forum were aware the company did work for one of the campaigns.
"We do data analysis work for candidates of a variety of parties, a fact that features clearly on our website," he said. "During the 2020 writ, we were hired early on to do a small data analysis job for Jordan Sturdy's campaign."
Munroe also noted that before launching the firm, he and Kaija Belfry Munroe had been working with "all of the major federal and provincial parties in our riding since the 2015 election as part of a long-term research project."
He added as a result, the pair has positive relationships with members of the various parties.
"All were aware last spring that we had launched a consulting firm and that our analytical services were available for hire,” said Munroe. “Our goal with Politikos Research is to support democracy by helping political actors to make evidence-based decisions."
New media advertising also made an appearance in Sturdy's financials, as thousands of dollars were paid to Squamish's Gord Addison, who provided Google Ad services.
The candidate with the second-largest war chest was Jeremy Valeriote, the Green candidate, who came in second by just over 40 votes in the recount.
Valeriote received about $35,000 in contributions, while he wound up spending roughly $45,000. About $37,000 was subject to limits on electoral spending, while the rest was spent outside the campaign period or involved personal expenses.
Just about all of the contributions he received were from the Green Party.
There were some small contributions also — $175 from a Zoom fundraiser and $150 labelled as "prohibited contribution."
Valeriote told The Chief it was from a person he knew in Gibsons, who moved out of province.
He said he later discovered that out-of-province contributions were not allowed, and he returned the money.
Valeriote was the second-largest advertiser, sinking about $22,000 in such related costs.
Some major spends in his campaign involved thousands of dollars for advertising in local media, services payments for his campaign manager, and office space.
Keith Murdoch, the NDP candidate, received $16,000 in contributions and spent $15,000. Of that, $9,800 was subject to campaign spending limits. The rest of the money was spent outside the period or involved personal expenses.
Murdoch spent about $7,000 on advertising.
Similar to the other candidates, almost all his funding came from his political party.
Among Murdoch's expenses were advertising in a local paper, other advertising, and travel expenses, among other things.
He placed a distant third in the election.
—With files from Jennifer Thuncher/The Squamish Chief