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Digging in on donations to the Columbia mayoral race

Candidates in Columbia’s mayoral race brought in more than $91,556 during the last reporting period before the April 2 election.

Incumbent Brian Treece collected $57,937, while his opponents Chris Kelly took in $33,619. Both have a little more than $33,000 on hand to spend prior to the election.

Treece’s haul came from 78 different contributions during the time period of Feb. 15 to March 21. Sixty-three of those contributions came from donors within Boone County. Five businesses on Phillips Farm Road in south Columbia each chipped in $4,000. Those companies are tied to developments from the Odle brothers, who built the Brookside complexes throughout town. Jack Cardetti, spokesman for the businesses, said the support from the police and fire unions of Treece guided their decision to donate.

“As a Columbia-based business we believe that crime and public safety are the number one long-term issue the town needs to address,” Cardetti said on Tuesday. “We are proud to stand with the Columbia police and firefighters in supporting the mayor.”

Treece took $7,850 in donations from political action committees during that time. The largest came from Operating Engineers Local 101 in Kansas City at $5,000, while the smallest was from Our Revolution Mid-Missouri PAC at $100.

Treece did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday afternoon.

Kelly’s haul came from 127 different contributions, with 121 of them in Boone County. Public officeholders like Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe ($500) and Boone County commissioner Janet Thompson ($100) gave to his campaign. Thompson told ABC 17 News that Kelly asked for her support.

“I’ve known Chris Kelly for decades and he has always been an advocate for and participant in responsible government,” Thompson said. “He asked for my support. Brian Treece did not.”

Kelly said his out-of-state contributors were friends of his that he canoes with. His largest contributor was former Columbia mayor and MBS Textbooks owner Bob Pugh, who gave him $2,000.

“Every one of my contributions is from a real person,” Kelly told ABC 17 News. “They’re not hidden in LLCs or political action committees. I’m so proud of that. Because of this kind of inappropriate money makes this the most important race I’ve ever been in.”

The Treece campaign filed a complaint against Kelly to the Missouri Ethics Commission for work Columbia Marketing Group did for the Kelly campaign. Kelly amended his ethics report to show he reimbursed the company, which does digital advertising, the $950.

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