When developer and real estate mogul Alan Domb got into the race for an at-large seat on City Council, there were two pressing questions. Question 1: Why? Why, why, why, why, why? Question 2: How much money would he spend on the race?
We have a partial answer to question two. Domb has contributed at least $250,000 to his campaign, according to a release from the Philadelphia Board of Ethics. That’s a big enough check to double the contribution limits for all at-large City Council candidates. That means individuals can donate up to $5,800 to any at-large City Council campaign, and PACs can contribute up to $23,000.
Who does this help, apart from Domb? City Council incumbents. Incumbents are far more likely to get PAC cash than are challengers. And coming so close to election day, the doubling of the limits really only helps those candidates that are supported by PACs.
We don’t know exactly how much Domb has sunk into his campaign. It could be millions, or it could be $250,001. Either way, Domb has given a big assist to council incumbents, which is likely to revive speculation that his candidacy is a stalking horse bid orchestrated by City Council President Darrell Clarke. Domb has said repeatedly he’s in the race to win.
Of course, it’s possible for a campaign to serve more than one purpose.