Plass leads all Healdsburg candidates in campaign fundraising

Healdsburg Mayor Gary Plass has raised more than $10,000 in his bid for re-election, outpacing the five other candidates combined in the City Council race, most of whom planned to collect and spend less than $1,000.

To Plass, the contributions are a way to pay for the hefty cost of mailing his campaign fliers to voters, something his rivals are not doing.

"If you are going to take on the responsibility of running, you have the duty to tell people who you are and what you are about," he said, adding that running for office is not just about coming up with snippets "about what may or may not be true."

But other candidates downplay the need to raise money to reach the town's 6,300 registered voters and even question the wisdom of taking campaign contributions.

"If you take their contribution, you sort of sell out. There's an ownership there, and I don't like it," said candidate Vern Simmons, who said he neither receives nor asks for money.

"I'm just as happy doing my own thing, walking and talking to people and not having as many fliers," said Simmons, who is making his first bid for a council seat.

The only other candidate to collect significant contributions is Shaun McCaffery, whose latest disclosure statements showed he collected just over $4,000, including $850 he loaned to his own campaign.

The other candidates -- incumbent Tom Chambers, challengers Dennis Brown and Tim Meinken -- all are running campaigns on less than $1,000, according to statements they filed with the city clerk.

Three of the five City Council seats are up for election this year.

Chambers, who is running for a third term on the council, acknowledges that incumbency has its advantages. He said people know him and it's a small enough town that he can reach voters by walking neighborhoods and attending events.

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