A political newcomer has outspent his opponents as they all jockey for position in the upcoming May 4 special election for the vacant District 3 seat.
Less than $5,000 in combined political contributions and expenses were reported by three of the four candidates in the running, according to 30-day campaign finance reports.
Part of the challenge for some candidates has been trying to campaign within a tight timeframe. Kyle city leaders approved holding a special election for the District 3 seat in mid-February, giving candidates roughly nine weeks to campaign.
Candidates in cities and jurisdictions holding a May 4 election have been campaigning since December 17, 2018, which was the filing deadline.
Robert Rizo, a longtime Kyle resident and candidate in the District 3 race, said the shorter-than-usual timeframe has been a challenge as it doesn’t allow candidates to meet constituents face-to-face or fully plan for an election strategy. Rizo also worries the special election might not generate as much voter turnout as a normal election cycle.
“Normal elections, I get to meet voters. But I haven’t done as much block walking,” Rizo said. “Engaging the community does make a difference.”
Rizo said planning for November might also play a role for candidates who are vying for the District 3 seat. Whoever wins May 4 will serve the final five-plus months of the current District 3 term, which expires in November.
Despite the short campaign period, Cody De Salvo, an Austin area consultant who lives in the Meadows of Kyle subdivision, reported a $1,051.52 political contribution to himself, which was made during a reporting period of March 4 to April 4. De Salvo, who submitted his campaign finance report three days after the April 4 deadline, reported more than $1,400 in expenses.
That included $370 to Voter Trove, a voter data and engagement website, as well as roughly $670 toward printing expenses. De Salvo used his personal credit card for $413 in expenses, the majority of which went toward printing costs and fees. De Salvo only has $4.11 in political expenses left.
Meanwhile, Stuart Kirkwood, a former Kyle City Council member and current Plum Creek resident, reported just over $900 in total expenses for his campaign.
Roughly $890 of those expenses were charged to his personal credit card. The majority of those charges went toward political signage and advertising costs.
Kirkwood received $300 in total political contributions from two primary sources. A $200 contribution came from Austin-area consultant Scott Rhode as well as a $100 contribution from former Kyle Baptist senior pastor Robert Horton, now a preacher at McMahan Baptist Church.
Kirkwood used only $5 of his contributions for Hays County voter registration fees, leaving him with $295 left in his war chest.
Rizo, who is vying for a city council seat for the second time since November 2018, did not report any political expenses or contributions from Jan. 1 to April 4. Rizo reported $21 in contributions left for his campaign.
Michelle Carey, an office manager who lives in the Woodlands Subdivision, has not filed a campaign finance report as of April 15.