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September 16, 2014

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Henderson mayoral candidates set spending record

Kirk, Hafen spend a combined $769,000 on their campaigns

Henderson Mayor Debate

Henderson Mayor Debate, seg. 2

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Henderson City Council members Andy Hafen and Steve Kirk are spending record-breaking amounts of money in their quest to become Henderson’s next mayor, shelling out a combined total of nearly $800,000 thus far.

State-mandated financial disclosures for the campaigns were due Tuesday, one week before the election, and the reports show that Hafen had spent almost $313,000, while Kirk had spent $456,000. The part-time job pays $54,632 a year.

By comparison, in 1997, the last time Henderson had a competitive mayoral race, Mayor James B. Gibson spent about $139,000, while runner-up Dennis Augspurger spent about $37,000.

In the city’s most recent competitive political race, Hafen’s narrow 2007 defeat of Thomas Wagner for a sixth term on the City Council, Hafen spent $169,000 to Wagner’s $140,000.

Both Kirk and Hafen attributed the dramatic rise in spending to the city’s explosive growth.

“When you run a professional campaign, that’s what it takes,” Kirk said. “Henderson is a city of nearly 300,000 people, and to get your message out and reach everybody who is going to vote, you have to run a professional campaign. There was a time when you could just walk the entire city, but that just won’t work anymore.”

Hafen estimates he’s spent almost half — $150,000 — of his campaign budget on television advertising.

“It is what it is,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve been outlandish in our spending. Really, there’s no way for us to get our message out to a large number of people without television.”

Kirk estimates he’s spent about $55,000 on television advertising.

Both candidates have relied on campaign war chests they amassed during their years in office. Hafen entered this year with about $150,000 on hand and has raised more than $245,000 during the current election cycle.

Kirk entered with about $275,000 on hand and has raised more than $212,000 in the current cycle.

In Henderson’s City Council Ward III race, Kathleen Boutin has outspent opponent Cathy Rosenfield almost 22 times over, spending $229,000 to Rosenfield’s $10,500. The position pays $44,287 a year.

Boutin entered the election cycle with about $30,000 and has raised another $179,000. Rosenfield has raised $10,700, all since the beginning of the year.

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