GALVESTON — The race to represent the West End is drawing a lot of interest from political donors.
The District 6 race between incumbent Councilwoman Marie Robb and real estate executive Carolyn Sunseri generated more than $35,000 in donations between Jan. 1 and April 9, according to political contribution reports turned into the city last week.
The donations for District 6 surpass the total amount donated to the 10 other candidates running for district seats who turned in financial reports by the Thursday deadline.
The island’s mayoral race drew more than $139,000 in contributions during the same time period.
During the first reporting period, Sunseri raised $25,818.83. Of that amount, $22,538.83 came in contributions greater than $50, which are required to be reported individually.
Robb raised less, according to her report, bringing in $12,810 in donations of more than $50, and another $65 in smaller gifts.
The Daily News included in-kind contributions as part of its analysis of the candidate’s finances.
Both candidates declined Tuesday to offer much speculation about why their campaigns were drawing more donations than other races in the city.
“We’re the biggest voting block,” Robb said. “There’s a lot of people that participate, and a lot of people think I did a really good job.”
About 1,400 people voted in the District 6 election in 2012, more than any other district on the island.
Despite that, the campaign reports show the candidates received donations from individuals from other cities.
Of the 104 donors who made contributions to Sunseri’s campaign, 74 listed addresses in Galveston. Of the 39 donors to Robb, 36 listed Galveston addresses.
It’s unclear how many of the contributors to each campaign are actual registered voters in District 6 and how many may be second-home owners or part-time residents. Comparisons of property records to the campaign reports from both campaigns show the candidates accepted donations from individuals who have home addresses outside of Galveston but listed a Galveston home as their address on their finance report. There are no rules that prohibit outside interests from donating to to the campaigns.
“I’m thankful that I’ve got a lot of family and friends that are supporting me,” Sunseri said. “That’s where (the campaign donations) came from.
“I didn’t think anything of taking contributions from residents that live in the city limits, because I know at some I’m going to be representing their interests as well, not just the West End.”
Robb too, said she gave little thought to the living situation of her donors.
“Every single resident is important,” Robb said. “Everybody who owns property is contributing to our tax base. Whether your registered here, you’re important. Whether you’re contributing to the campaign or not, you’re important.
Contact reporter John Wayne Ferguson at 409-683-5226 or john.ferguson