Bass raises more than $30K in race for New Milford mayor
NEW MILFORD — Republican mayoral candidate Pete Bass has spent more on his campaign so far than both Democrat and Republican candidates spent combined in the last mayoral contest in 2015 — and he has only spent half the money he has raised.
Bass, a longtime Town Council member, collected $31,865 from July 7 to Sept. 30, campaign finance disclosures show. Mayor David Gronbach, a Democrat, raised $6,375.
The candidates are still raising money and still spending, they said. They will participate in a debate on Thursday night at the Sarah Noble School.
“I’m humbled by all the people that have wanted to contribute to the campaign,” Bass said. “I celebrate the fact that so many people want to contribute. Whether its $5 or $1,000, it’s a blessing.”
Records show 106 people contributed an average of $295.90 to Bass’s campaign. Thirty-two people gave to Gronbach, an average of $199.22 each.
Gronbach, the incumbent, is not worried his challenger has nearly five times the campaign cash on hand, he said.
“If it was all about money, Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton would be president right now,” he said.
The mayor budgeted to raise $10,000 and is well on his way to that figure, he added.
Republican challenger Pete Bass will debate incumbent Mayor David Gronbach, a Democrat, at the Sarah Noble School Thursday night.
Gronbach is seeking his second term. Bass, a longtime Town Council member, his first. The debate will be at 7 p.m.
Election day is Nov. 7.
“That’s my budget,” Gronbach said. “That’s what I want to do, and that’s the kind of campaign I want to run. My government has been about doing more with less.
“I don’t need $20,000 if I can get my message out with $10,000.”
From July to September, the mayor spent $944.14, with most of it on an event at the John Pettibone Community Center, campaign literature and lawn signs, records show.
Bass, meanwhile, has spent $17,221.59.
Thousands of dollars went to building a website and creating videos to post on Facebook.
He spent thousands more on lawn signs and printing, and paid a Niantic consulting company $3,500 to help him.
That kind of campaign money is new to New Milford.
In 2015, Gronbach raised $9,855 for the entire campaign.
Longtime Republican Mayor Pat Murphy, Gronbach’s predecessor, raised $4,300 in all.
“We’ve been asking people to contribute what they can and there’s been an overwhelming response,” Bass said. “There is a big groundswell of support from people that want a positive inclusive set of ideals for the way we run government in New Milford.”
Gronbach doesn’t buy that.
The mayor, pointing to Bass’s higher average contribution, thinks people who might have seen favor under Murphy’s administration are spending to restore that favor with another Republican mayor.
“I’ve shaken up the status quo and that’s offended people,” he said. “You have to wonder, ‘What are people buying with these donations?’”
Asked if donations will sway him if elected, Bass said, “Absolutely not.”
“And I hope you put that in capitals,” he added.
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