HARKER HEIGHTS — Three days before the election, Harker Heights City Council candidates for Place 1 told starkly contrasting stories about their campaign finances.
Through May 2, Hal Schiffman spent $4,263 more than Stu McLennan, campaign finance reports stated. In total, Schiffman had spent $4,752, and McLennan spent $488 through the same date. Donald Sandlin raised and spent no money throughout the campaign.
“I have been very fortunate, in fact blessed, to have received the financial support that I have,” Schiffman wrote in an email. “I was initially prepared to fund the campaign personally until such generous support was forthcoming.”
Friends and former associates contributed to his campaign a total of $5,142, which was used for signage, newspaper ads and professional website construction.
McLennan, who had raised $610 through Friday, purposely didn’t ask for campaign endorsements, he said. All campaign funds were raised unexpectedly. “You shouldn’t need financing at the municipal level,” McLennan said. “Plus, this way, I’m not beholden to anybody.”
Sandlin focused on communicating his message through media and email instead of making signs “simply to gain name recognition,” he wrote in an email. “These choices required no expenditures and purposefully avoided the appearance of any obligation to special interest groups.”
McLennan added that he strategized his campaign around directing voters to his website through roadside signs instead of ad purchases.
McLennan said he established wide name recognition before the campaign through his involvement in the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Harker Heights citizen police academy.
During early voting, which ended Tuesday, 480 residents voted in the election.
McLennan attributed the low voter turnout to the lack of a mayoral, state or national election. “I wish more people would vote,” he said.
Schiffman shared the sentiment. “In an engaged community such as ours that approaches 30,000 population to have these turnouts ... is perplexing,” Schiffman wrote.
Voting in the municipal election will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at Harker Heights Recreation Center, 307 Miller’s Crossing.