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Sal DiCiccio Raises Tons of Money -- Has Already Spent $159K on Council Race

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If you've got it, spend it.

That appears to be the motto of Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who's raised a staggering $225,160 for his council campaign -- and has already spent all but $65,000 of it.

According to the most recent set of campaign finance reports for the hotly contended District 6 race filed yesterday, DiCiccio has raised far more than his challengers Dana Kennedy, Barry Paceley, and Nathan Oshop.

Oshop (we can write this confidently after viewing a debate) won't be a factor in the race; Kennedy and Paceley are both credible contenders who've raised around $25,000 each.

And then there's DiCiccio.

DiCiccio was appointed to fill Greg Stanton's seat earlier this year, when Stanton left the council to work for Attorney General Terry Goddard. And incumbency has clearly worked to his advantage; he's garnered donations from a host of developers and city vendors.

DiCiccio's donations include:

* $820 from employees at Veolia, the French conglomerate that runs the city's bus lines.
* $1,230 from employees at Red Development, which is building CityScape downtown.
* $1,020 from employees and spouses at Ellman Companies, which built Westgate City Center in Glendale.
* $1,000 from employees at engineering giant HDR
* $1,230 from people affiliated with Turf Paradise, the race track
* $600 from employees of the Thomas J. Klutznick Company, which is developing the controversial CityNorth project.

As councilman, DiCiccio made at least one vote that must have pleased Klutznick -- he voted in favor of appealing the CityNorth appellate court decision. (The appellate court struck down the city's $97 million subsidy for the shopping center, saying it was unconstitutional; DiCiccio and the council then agreed to pay for lawyers to convince the Supreme Court to reverse the decision.)

The money DiCiccio has raised to date is far beyond what the victor in another expensive race, Maria Baier, had at this point in 2007. Baier had raised $154,000 by August of that year; she went on to win the race with $252,000.

Indeed, DiCiccio's totals appear closest to those of Laura Pastor, who is believed to have spent a record-setting amount in her losing 2007 bid. Pastor, the daughter of Congressman Ed Pastor, ultimately spent more than $300,000, or $93 per vote -- enough to buy each voter a Cuisinart.

We'll get a sense soon of whether all this spending translates into popular support for DiCiccio. Early voting is already underway; the polls are open September 1. If no one can get a plurality of the votes on that date, there will be a runoff November 3.

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