The first in a series of stories on the Nov. 6 Ventura City Council election is a hard and fast breakdown of the money raised and spent by those who hope to lead the city. Next week, the Reporter will delve into an examination of who’s spending that money.

Campaign finance records filed last week suggest that business interests are investing heavily in Ventura’s Nov. 6 city council election.

Documents filed last week covering the three-month period ending Sept. 22 show that Lou Cunningham and Doug Halter, the only candidates endorsed by the Ventura Chamber of Commerce, have spent more than any of their opponents on the race so far. Six other candidates are competing for three seats on the council, including Mayor Carl Morehouse, Christy Weir and Bill Fulton, the incumbents seeking reelection. Both Cunningham and Halter were the only candidates to hire campaign consultants, although Cunningham spent considerably more on his consultant.

Cunningham spent $2,500 more than any other candidate in the race during the reporting period (figures for the calendar year are identical for every candidate except Fulton, who spent about $400 earlier in the year). Of the $8,303.46 Cunningham spent so far this year, $4,000 went toward fees paid to campaign consultant Charles Kistner. Although Cunningham’s report lists his wife, Beverly, as the recipient of those fees and other expenses, he said a mistake was made filling out the forms, she has not been paid for her assistance with his campaign and he intends to amend the document to conform with campaign reporting ordinances.

Halter has spent $5,767 on his campaign so far. Of that total, only $900 was spent on consulting fees. They were paid to Graphic Systems West.

Fulton and Weir spent $4,720.92 and $4,364, respectively, on their campaigns. Jerry Martin, who ran in 2005, spent $2,208.68, Morehouse spent $1,261.25, challengers Brian Lee Rencher and Mike Gibson spent $910.73 and $749.75, respectively. Carroll Dean Williams, a challenger also running for a seat on the Ventura Unified School District Board, reported no spending. Non-consultant expenditures for all nine candidates went to print shops, the post office, and a communications company for signs, flyers and mailing costs.

Spending, of course is only part of the story. As of the most recent filings, Fulton raised more money than any of the other candidates, with $11,458 earned during the reporting period. The current city council member also had far more cash available to spend at the time of the reports than any other candidate.

Weir raised the next highest sum. With $9,780 in contributions through the filing deadline and a loan balance of $1,308, Weir also has the second highest amount of cash on hand, with $6,939.69 available at the filing deadline.

Although Cunningham has been spending the most, he has only raised $3,200. The other $10,000 comes from loans made to his campaign from his personal finances. He has $4,894 of the combined total available.

Halter, who has raised $9,245 so far, has $4,203 available. Morehouse has $3,168.7 available after raising $3,430 in contributions (he also has a loan balance of $1,000). Martin raised $6,135 and received a loan of about $1,600 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 952, with $2,326.32 left in his account. About $850 remains of Gibson’s $545 in donations and $1,055 in loans. Rencher spent every penny of the $710.73 he received during this period, plus $200 he received earlier in the year.