Wheatley spokesman on Luke's $10k gift: "We were just as surprised as anybody"

Posted by Chris Potter on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 12:21 PM

As noted here a short time ago, an early surprise in today's campaign-finance reporting period is that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl donated $10,000 to the mayoral bid of state Rep. Jake Wheatley.

And guess what? "We were just as surprised as anybody," says Wheatley spokesman Daren Berringer.

Berringer noted that the money came in "just the last week" (May 3, to be precise), and says that Wheatley had no advance notice that a check was on the way. "It's not like any of us are talking to [Ravenstahl]," Berringer says.

The Wheatley camp, like the other campaigns, will be filing its own financial report today. Berringer says that Ravenstahl's contribution will be one of the largest the campaign has gotten, "though I'm not sure it will be THE largest one or not. [Philadelphia state Rep. Dwight Evans] may have given a similar amount."

But if such a contribution looms large for Wheatley's campaign, Berringer says, in the scope of what the other campaigns will be reporting, "this is going to be miniscule." And indeed, Wagner's team has already reported larger donations.

But doesn't this suggest that Ravenstahl is hoping that Wheatley, who has criticized Peduto more often than Wagner out on the campaign trail, will be a cudgel against Peduto? Ravenstahl has also been funding attack ads through a third-party committee -- ads whose populist, anti-elitist message, arguably dovetails with Wheatley's own emphasis on fighting poverty. And one could argue that, if Wagner is the choice of the political establishment, Wheatley may split the opposition, especially among black voters.

"You'd have to talk to the mayor" about Ravenstahl's motives, says Berringer. But in any case the money "is not going to change anything we say or do. We're running our campaign, and he hasn't given us any advice about what to do with the [contribution]."

In fact, says Berringer, "If he's got more money, send it!"

Comments (2)

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It always comes down to the money. Campaign Finance Reform Now!!! PS.... Let's stop electing lawyers.

Posted by Doug McLean on 05/10/2013 at 1:45 PM

Walking like a duck (Wheatley and staff assailing Peduto while ignoring Wagner) and quacking like a duck (funded by Ravenstahl who is also running attack ads on Peduto). That's a duck... specifically, a duckling trailing behind this lame duck regime.

Posted by Bram R on 05/13/2013 at 10:33 AM
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