The Cost of Running for an Arvada City Council Seat

by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends, 

Arvada City Hall

Arvada City Hall

Did you ever wonder what it costs the candidates and their supporters when someone runs for an Arvada City Council seat?  Thanks to our new information age and a tech-savvy Arvada City Clerk, that information is now available on the City’s website at

Here, along with a few observations, is what I found when looking through those reports:

Candidate:  Rachel Zenzinger (District 1)

Contributions:  $8590 (plus a $140 hold-over amount)

Contributors:  105

% self-funded:  0%

Unspent:  $5,590

Expenditure per vote:  $0.41 for 5609 votes

Notes:  Rachel started her campaign very early and then ran unopposed.  Instead of holding over her unspent contributions for a later campaign, she gave the entire unspent balance to a list of local charities that included the Arvada Community Food Bank, the Santa House, the Ralston House, Red Rocks Community College, Jeffco Schools and the Apex Park & Recreation District. 

Candidate:  John Marriott (District 3)

Contributions:  $11,097

Contributors:  24

% self-funded:  65%

Unspent:  $619

Expenditure per vote:  $3.22 for 3258 votes

Notes:  This was John Marriott’s first run for office.  

Candidate:  Ted Terranova (District 3)

Contributions:  $17,614

Contributors:  2

% self-funded:  99.9%

Unspent:  $133

Expenditure per vote:  $6.53 for 2697 votes

Notes:  Ted Terranova appears to be the only candidate that did not solicit campaign contributions for the race. 

Candidate:  Justin Vicory (District 3) 

Contributions:  $1136

Contributors:  6

% self-funded:  7%

Unspent:  -0-

Expenditure per vote:  $0.95 for 959 votes

Notes:  This was also Justin Vicory’s first run for office.  Mr Vicory faced some serious health issues before the election that may have limited his ability to campaign.    

Candidate:  Don Allard (At Large)

Contributions:  $5000

Contributors:  7 

% self-funded:  53%

Unspent:  -0-

Expenditure per vote:  $0.21 for 16,803 votes

Notes:  Don Allard did not have a website with information on how to donate.  

Candidate: Ascenzo Di Giacamo (At Large)

Contributions:  $4233

Contributors:  36

% self-funded:  0%

Unspent:  $21

Expenditure per vote:  $0.33 for 12,953 votes

Notes:  This was Mr Di Giacomo’s first run for office.


Except for Rachel Zenzinger, these are not final reports and they only cover statements filed for the period through November 30th.

Don Allard and John Marriott won their respective races.  Rachel Zenzinger resigned her Arvada City Council seat in mid-December to replace resigning State Senator Evie Hudak in the Colorado General Assembly.  Her Council seat is now vacant. 

Contributions include loans the candidates made to themselves.  Expenditures per vote are based on voter counts available on November 8th.  Amounts the candidates loaned themselves and then paid back to themselves from contributions were not counted in the expenditure per vote numbers.  Nor are they added to the unspent amounts listed here.   

Arvada City Council members are paid between $12,000 and $18,000 a year depending upon their Council duties.  Considering the hours they put in doing their job, that’s about the equivalent of working at McDonald’s — except our councilors get healthier box-lunch meals before their meetings.    

The City website referenced above also lists each contributor who made a campaign donation and the amount they gave.  Individual contributions are limited by ordinance to $500 for a District Council race and to $750 for an At-Large or Mayoral race.  Candidates are free to contribute or loan unlimited amounts to their own campaigns and the candidates often do just that. 

John Kiljan, CLRC Notes: 303-423-9875 or

December 28, 2013

file:  NTM28Dec13ACCFinancial.doc

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