Sunshine for County Commission Election Finances

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Democratic candidates running for seats on the Wake County Commission have together raised more than six times the funds their Republican rivals have brought in.

There are three seats up for election on the Republican-controlled County Commission. No matter how the vote goes next week Republicans will hold the majority.

New Software for Reading Campaign Finance Filings

Local campaign finance returns pose a unique problem. They are filed as paper and scanned into PDF files by the Wake County Board of Elections. Those scans are put online on the county website. Raleigh Public Record, with generous funding from Raleigh’s own Beehive Collective, developed a new program to convert the PDF image files into a usable spreadsheet format.

The program will continue in beta format for now and will be released as an open source program at the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting conference in Louisville at the end of February. Stay tuned for updates. Next year Raleigh residents will have its City Council elections and the new program will be ready to bring sunlight to the funding of local elections across the state.

Programming by Edward Duncan.

District 4 candidate Caroline Sullivan, a Democrat, has raised the most, bringing in more than $108,000.

Here is the breakdown, according to the most recent campaign finance returns filed with the Wake County Board of Elections:

District 4
Dale Cooke (R) $12,271.05
Caroline Sullivan (D) $108,778.63

District 5
James West (D) $14,947.34
Running unopposed

District 6
Paul Fitts (R) $11,450.96
Betty Lou Ward (D) $27,325.17

Here is the most recent breakdown of who’s contributing to whom in the Wake County Commission races:

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