METHUEN — Mayoral candidate Stephen Zanni hit the home stretch before Tuesday's preliminary election having spent more campaign cash than all three of his opponents combined.
Zanni raised $20,635 between Jan. 1 and Sept. 2 and spent just over $12,000. Candidates Jack Cronin, Al DiNuccio and Kenneth Willette, Jr., spent just over $11,500 combined during that same period, according to pre-preliminary campaign finance reports filed this week.
Preliminary election voters will narrow the four-candidate field down to two finalists, who then must file a second campaign spending report eight days before the Nov. 8 general election.
Among Zanni's chief expenses were printed campaign materials.
He spent over $8,000 at Vogel Printing in Lawrence and Connolly Printing in Woburn on mailers, fundraiser invitations, bumper stickers, signs and business cards.
To date, Zanni said he has spent $10,000 on three mailers, the last of which will be sent to all registered voters in the city later this week.
"That was the big focus — getting the message out to voters," said Zanni.
DiNuccio said he will counter later this week with a city-wide mailer of his own.
"He's spending a lot per vote," DiNuccio said of Zanni. "Our campaign's based on grassroots. Grassroots doesn't cost as much as a Zanni campaign, trying to buy an election."
DiNuccio raised $7,604 between Jan. 1 and Sept. 2 and spent $4,949. He ended the period with a balance of $2,740.22 in his campaign fund.
"We'll spend every single penny we have for the preliminary," said DiNuccio.
DiNuccio's biggest expense was $3,876 to cater a fundraiser event Aug. 25. He also spent $323 at Vogel Printing for donation envelopes and $750 on rent for his Pelham Street campaign headquarters. His outstanding liabilities include $967 for campaign signs and $822 for rent.
Willette ended the reporting period with a $937.71 deficit, which he said will be covered using money he raised at a recent fundraiser dinner.
Willette raised $2,850 and spent $3,816.51, mostly on campaign materials including buttons, bumper stickers, donation envelopes, business cards and fundraiser tickets.
He also spent $1,000 on print and radio advertisements.
Willette said he doesn't have to outspend his opponents to win the election.
"At the end of the day, it's the grassroots," said Willette. "It's traveling door to door."
Cronin's campaign liabilities include the $1,795 he loaned himself upon entering the race in July. He raised $6,310 and spent $2,743, ending the period with a balance of $3,567.
Cronin said the majority of his spending was toward campaign signs and stickers.
"I got in the race late," said Cronin. "My strategy was to reach as many people as I can."
Zanni ended the reporting period with a campaign fund balance of $9,269.65.
In addition to printed materials, Zanni spent $2,396 to cater a June fundraiser event and paid $384 for print advertising and $222 for postage expenses.
He also gave to several groups and fundraisers, including $150 to the Exchange Club of Methuen; $100 each to the Arlington Neighborhood Inc., state Sen. Steven Baddour, and the Friends of Jennifer Kannan; and $60 to the Clean River Project.
Of the four mayoral candidates, Zanni received the greatest number of large donations, including 15 donations of $250 and 15 maximum donations of $500.
Zanni said he also raised over $5,000 at a fundraiser event Monday.
"I'm very pleased with the fundraising ability," said Zanni. "I've been able to get my message across and I'm very thankful for the people that are contributing to the campaign."
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TOP CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTORS
All contributions $250 or more for period Jan. 1 to Sept 2, 2011.
Maximum contribution $500.
(source: Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance)
$500: Charles, Leon Asadorian, Zafer Catalbas, Michael Colizzi, Anthony Copany, Herbert Dike, Fred Fairburn, Susan Farelli-Kattar, William Kannan, LIUNA AFL-CIO, Methuen Firefighters Association, Ron Parrino, Sharon Pollard, Anne Randazzo, Raymond Wrobel
$250: Mohammad Afreedi, Joseph Antifonario, Gino Baroni, Constance Faro, Anthony Fusco, Frank Gallo, Robert Gilbert, International Union of Operating Engineers Local No. 4, Michele Mastrangelo, Oreste D. Zanni DDS Inc., Ronald Pitocchelli, Ron and Joan Potvin, Salvatore Rivela, Joseph Rubino, Joseph Scott
$500: Charles Gillespie, Paul Russell
$250: John Cavaretta, Fadi Chahine, Frank DiNuccio, Rose Ann DiNuccio, Stephen Doherty, Kathleen Gosselin, Paul Guselli, Noreen Lehrich, Joseph V. Lento, Sheila Marquis, Chelsea Russell, Joseph Shaheen, Dale Shultz
Kenneth Willette, Jr.
$450: Richard Bonanno
$400: Arthur Broadhurst, Salim Tabit
$250: Arthur Hutton
$500: Methuen Firefighters Association
$250: Chris DiPrima, Raquel DiPrima