Contributions to Richmond mayoral candidates

Contributions to Richmond mayoral candidates

Richmond’s 2010 mayoral race has been contentious — and expensive. In an effort to shed light on the upcoming mayoral contest, Richmond Confidential and the UC Berkeley Visualization Lab have created an interactive tool that lets readers examine the candidates’ finances.

How to use: Change the settings on the chart below to explore the candidates’ campaign finances. See what others have discovered in the right-hand column or share your discoveries with our readers and on Facebook.

Campaign Finance Explorer

*Contributions from businesses, Political Action Committees and unions. Totals do not include unitemized monetary contributions under $100.
Interactive: Wesley Willett and Maneesh Agrawala / UC Berkeley Vis Lab; Len De Groot / Knight Digital Media Center and David Ferry / Richmond Confidential

The raw data

Data highlights

  • Almost half of all contributors list addresses outside of Richmond.
  • Although councilmember Nat Bates ($65,149) raised four times as much as mayor Gayle McLaughlin ($15,183) this quarter, he only has 20 more donors than she does.
  • The average donation to McLaughlin was about $296; for Ziesenhenne, it was about $589; and Bates’ average contributor gave about $958.

Our Campaign Finance Explorer is designed to level the playing field. It allows viewers to compare candidates, spot patterns, and post their discoveries straight to Facebook.

In the Explorer, readers can follow the money in a number of ways. When the “Individuals” filter is clicked, only donations from individuals appear. When “Others” is clicked, the graph displays data about donations from businesses, political action committees and unions. Readers can also see how much money came from outside of Richmond by clicking the “Elsewhere” button. And at the top of the graph, viewers can cycle through the different tabs to look at the number of donors each candidate has.

We hope our readers will make the most of this tool, and learn more about the serious money it takes to get elected in Richmond.


  1. overhere on October 18, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Would be much more useful to include data on where the donations came from; the people, groups, or businesses.

    • Isabel Emerson on October 20, 2010 at 4:09 pm

      I agree the data is great, however, I would also like to see where the donations, people and groups that gave the donation.
      When the election is over, it would be interesting if these same individuals, groups, and/businesses would also donate to schools, child care, and non-profits.

    • Josh Williams on October 21, 2010 at 1:03 pm

      Hi guys, you’re right, we should post the data. We just amended this page with links to the data we used. Find the links above. Thanks!

  2. Anna Bloom on October 18, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Amazing — I’m so impressed by your collaborative efforts — I love it!

  3. Susan on October 18, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Hey, this is a great tool but it doesn’t show the independent (?) contributions to Gayle Mclaughlin’s Campaign. As the mailers for her slate states “Major funding from out-of-city contributors” and “Major funding by/Expenditures Directed by: California Grand Casino, Napa Valley Casino and Oaks Club” People should have these facts!

  4. john deckard on October 20, 2010 at 10:51 am

    This is really wonderful. I’d also love a tradition story to bring MORE context. But kudos.


  5. Ellen on October 20, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    One interesting thing is that both other candidates have gotten more money contributed from OUTSIDE of Richmond than all of the contributions McLaughlin has received. What is the deal with outside money?

  6. mike on October 21, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Hey, this is showing me only contributions to Whitman and Brown … how do I get it to show contributions to local Richmond candidates?

    • mike on October 21, 2010 at 10:14 am

      Ah, now it’s showing Richmond candidates.

    • Josh Williams on October 21, 2010 at 10:18 am

      Hi Mike, thanks for the heads up! We’ve fixed the interactive to show the correct race.

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