By Brian Messenger
---- — Of the 14 City Council candidates on the ballot last week, two of the top three fundraisers collected the bulk of their campaign cash from donors living outside the city.
James Jajuga, who topped the ticket on election day, raised $9,220 during the campaign — the most money among council candidates. Council Chairman Sean Fountain raised $8,280 while Daniel Grayton pulled in $7,065.
But unlike Fountain, who received most of his political donations from city residents and groups, the majority of the money raised by Jajuga and Grayton came from outside Methuen.
Both Jajuga and Grayton won election in the race for three councilor-at-large seats and will join the council in January. Voters also re-elected six councilors and challenger George Kazanjian.
Candidates are required under state law to detail campaign fundraising and spending in reports that include itemized lists of all donations greater than $50. The reports list all fundraising and spending this year through Oct. 18.
Of the 52 itemized donations in Jajuga’s report, 13 are from Methuen residents and 39 are from outside the city. Grayton’s report lists 51 donations — 16 from Methuen and 35 from outside individuals or groups.
In Fountain’s report, 35 of 45 itemized donations are from Methuen individuals and groups. The 10 outside donations came from Lawrence, Haverhill, Andover, North Andover, Dracut, Seabrook, N.H., and Atkinson, N.H.
Jajuga only received $470 in donations of $50 or less, according to his report. His non-Methuen donations came from Lawrence, Haverhill, Andover, North Andover, Dracut, Tewksbury, Chelmsford, Lowell, Boston, Newburyport, Stoneham, and in New Hampshire the communities of Salem, Windham, Seabrook, Hudson, Hampton Falls and Auburn.
All together, 75 percent of donors who gave Jajuga more than $50 live outside Methuen, though several of them own or work for area businesses including Methuen Construction, Trinity Ambulance, Coady’s Towing, among others.
Jajuga said his donor list consists of friends and associates from his time working as a state trooper, state senator, the state’s secretary of public safety and the president of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce.
“I would say the vast majority, if not every one of them, are just friends of mine,” said Jajuga. “You need money to run a campaign. I didn’t even scratch the surface of what I could have raised.”
Not included in Jajuga’s report is an Oct. 29 fundraiser at the Sweetheart Inn that Jajuga said was attended predominantly by Methuen residents. Those donations will be included in a forthcoming finance report, he said.
Grayton’s campaign finance report shows that 70 percent of his donors were non-Methuen residents and groups. Though it was not required, Grayton said he itemized all donations in his report — including those $50 or less.
“Transparency is important,” said Grayton. “I’m not ashamed of where I got my money. All of that money you see there came with no strings attached.”
Grayton said he raised just over $1,000 at a campaign kickoff event in June and another $2,000 at an October fundraiser. The remainder of the donations are from friends and family members living across the region, he said.
“Certainly, my first time running, I had a lot of people who were encouraging with their financial support,” said Grayton.
Grayton’s outside donations came from Haverhill, Andover, North Andover, North Reading, Middleton, Billerica, Newburyport, Salem, Marblehead, Gloucester, Lynn, Peabody, Danvers, Beverly, Medford, Winchester, Lynnfield, Sutton, Bedford, Belmont, Shrewsbury, Dover and Seabrook, N.H.
Among those donations was $500 from the Massachusetts Republican Municipal PAC and $500 from Chanel Prunier, executive director of the Coalition for Marriage and Family. Grayton works as a field director for the group.
Neither Grayton nor Jajuga received donations from Methuen labor unions.
Top Methuen City Council Spenders Name Spent Raised Votes Race Result *Sean Fountain $8,027 $8,280 1,577 West Won *Joyce Campagnone $7,150 $6,475 4,773 At-Large Won *Ronald Marsan $6,155 $5,495 1,852 East Won George Kazanjian $4,447 $4,500 1,764 West Won Jack Cronin $4,276 $4,879 934 Central Lost Daniel Grayton $3,895 $7,065 3,422 At-Large Won James Jajuga $3,758 $9,220 4,984 At-Large Won Sharon Birchall $2,717 $4,030 3,224 At-Large Lost *Lisa Ferry $2,480 $6,390 1,434 Central Won *Thomas Ciulla $2,029 $4,325 1,589 East Won Robert LeBlanc $1,697 $4,025 1,629 At-Large Lost *James Atkinson $1,663 $3,225 1,238 Central Won Thomas Firth III $1,257 $2,190 1,206 East Lost Kenneth Willette $830 $1,178 1,283 West Lost *Denotes incumbent