How NWT election candidates raised and spent their money
Detailed accounts of how candidates in last year’s NWT election financed their campaigns have been published by Elections NWT.
The spreadsheets show where each candidate’s campaign contributions came from and how they spent the money, based on reports each candidate must file. In total, more than $410,000 was spent across the NWT’s 19 electoral districts.
Nunakput’s Jackie Jacobson – who was successfully elected – reported the highest contribution income, receiving $21,300, though virtually all of that was travel assistance in kind from Tuktoyaktuk-based E Gruben’s Transport Ltd.
Yellowknife Centre’s Julie Green – also elected – received more than $19,000 in contributions. Two more successful candidates were next on the list: Kevin O’Reilly brought in $18,400 and Caroline Wawzonek, now a cabinet member, $18,000.
Dave Ramsay received the most money of any unsuccessful candidate. He raised $16,700 on the way to defeat by O’Reilly in Yellowknife’s Frame Lake district. Kieron Testart and Robert Hawkins each raised around $15,000 in Kam Lake but were defeated by Caitlin Cleveland, who raised a little under $10,000.
In 10 of the 16 districts where campaigns were fought (three candidates were acclaimed unopposed), the candidate who raised the most money won. However, there were some financial upsets.
In Yellowknife North, Rylund Johnson’s campaign finance statement shows he raised just $4,000 in defeating Jan Vallillee ($7,000) and incumbent Cory Vanthuyne ($10,000).
How candidates spent their money changed considerably depending on where in the NWT they were.
In Yellowknife, very few candidates spent money on travel. In more remote parts of the NWT where one district represents several communities, by contrast, candidates poured thousands of dollars into travel to reach as many voters as they could.
Jacobson’s $18,600 on travel in Nunakput – which covers Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Tuktoyaktuk, and Ulukhaktok – was easily the most spent getting around by any candidate.
Jacobson’s five Nunakput rivals spent $22,000 on travel between them. Herb Nakimayak, who lost the seat, spent all $4,500 he raised on travel costs, the only candidate NWT-wide to do so.
In Nahendeh, Shane Thompson spent more than $5,000 on travel in successfully defending his seat. Paulie Chinna spent almost $4,500 on travel as she won in the Sahtu.
In all three of those districts, the candidate spending the most on travel won.
The financial statements produced by candidates for public viewing are a condition of running for office, and there are significant penalties for failure to file them on time.
The statements are open to a little interpretation by candidates in terms of how certain expenses or contributions are classified. Contributions to a campaign by a candidate’s own family can show up as having come from the candidate themselves, or from the candidate’s spouse or relatives.
Where candidates’ own names appear as contributors, Steve Norn in Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh contributed the most of any candidate to their own campaign.
Norn’s financial statement suggests he invested $8,386 in his campaign, a little more than Rocky Simpson’s $8,265 in Hay River South. (Both candidates were successful. Simpson gave more than $7,500 of that money back to himself as “other payments” and “other advertising” in his expenditures column.)
Ronald Bonnetrouge ran the most economical successful campaign. He defeated incumbent Michael Nadli in the Deh Cho district while spending only $2,000 (still $900 more than spent by Nadli).
Two candidates in contested ridings neither received nor spent any money at all: Donald Hendrick in Inuvik Twin Lakes and Nadine Delorme in Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh.
The financial statements document the contributions of businesses and organizations alongside those made by individuals to candidates.
For example, the Union of Northern Workers gave $1,500 to O’Reilly, Thompson, Testart, and Range Lake candidate Hughie Graham, who lost to Caroline Cochrane, the territory’s eventual new premier. Union leader Todd Parsons personally donated $400 to O’Reilly and Testart.
Cochrane’s backers included former MLA Wendy Bisaro, communications company SSI Micro, Buffalo Airways, and the North Slave Métis Alliance, which supported a number of candidates.
In full: Read candidates’ financial reports on the Elections NWT website
In Yellowknife Centre, city councillor Niels Konge’s unsuccessful campaign reported receiving $750 from the city’s senior administrative officer, Sheila Bassi-Kellett, and her partner. (Bassi-Kellett subsequently told Cabin Radio her partner had made the donation, but her name appeared as the result of banking through a joint account.)
List: How much each candidate raised
Here, in order from largest to smallest, is the sum raised in contributions by each 2019 NWT election candidate according to their own reporting. Note that contributions include both cash received and contributions in kind (for example, by providing travel services or accommodation at no cost or a discounted rate).
Riding Candidate Contributions Nunakput Jackie Jacobson $21,302.14 Yellowknife Centre Julie Green $19,071.73 Frame Lake Kevin O’Reilly $18,430.44 Yellowknife South Caroline Wawzonek $17,993.75 Frame Lake Dave Ramsay $16,734.47 Kam Lake Kieron Testart $15,032.50 Kam Lake Robert Hawkins $14,550.00 Great Slave Patrick Scott $12,791.91 Yellowknife South Gaeleen McPherson $12,361.08 Inuvik Twin Lakes Lesa Semmler $12,057.47 Yellowknife Centre Arlene Hache $11,521.80 Range Lake Caroline Cochrane $11,166.82 Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh Steve Norn $10,911.43 Yellowknife North Cory Vanthuyne $10,454.43 Yellowknife Centre Niels Konge $10,432.95 Great Slave Katrina Nokleby $9,954.66 Kam Lake Caitlin Cleveland $9,875.00 Nahendeh Shane Thompson $9,516.28 Hay River South Rocky Simpson $9,091.08 Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh Lila Fraser Erasmus $8,934.28 Range Lake Hughie Graham $8,900.00 Sahtu Paulie Chinna $7,305.12 Yellowknife North Jan Vallillee $7,301.59 Nunakput Sheila Nasogaluak $7,023.36 Sahtu Caroline Yukon $6,579.83 Nunakput Alisa Blake $6,519.48 Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh Richard Edjericon $6,415.15 Nunakput Annie Steen $6,408.48 Hay River South Wally Schumann $6,037.67 Kam Lake Cherish Winsor $5,998.76 Thebacha Louis Sebert $5,826.05 Kam Lake Rommel Silverio $5,767.96 Thebacha Frieda Martselos $5,294.74 Inuvik Boot Lake Eugene Rees $5,264.16 Thebacha Don Jaque $5,072.03 Sahtu Daniel McNeely $4,500.00 Nunakput Herb Nakimayak $4,480.76 Yellowknife North Rylund Johnson $4,386.94 Nunakput Holly Campbell $4,303.77 Yellowknife Centre Thom Jarvis $4,256.00 Inuvik Twin Lakes Sallie Ross $4,130.52 Kam Lake Abdullah Al-Mahamud $4,036.25 Thebacha Denise Yuhas $3,916.71 Nahendeh Randal Sibbeston $3,382.77 Sahtu Wilfred McNeely Jr $3,287.83 Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh Paul Betsina $3,250.00 Inuvik Boot Lake Diane Thom $3,000.00 Mackenzie Delta Frederick Blake Jr* $2,553.81 Nahendeh Mike Drake $2,509.04 Inuvik Boot Lake Dez Loreen $2,071.24 Deh Cho Ronald Bonnetrouge $2,004.23 Deh Cho Michael Nadli $1,100.00 Nahendeh Eric Menicoche $1,040.30 Inuvik Boot Lake Jimmy Kalinek $764.46 Inuvik Twin Lakes Donald Hendrick $0 Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh Nadine Delorme $0
* Frederick Blake Jr was acclaimed in Mackenzie Delta but still filed a financial report showing money raised and spent. The two other acclaimed candidates’ reports showed no income or expenditure.