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Jeff Smith Halts Fundaising, Cites Voter "Bombardment"

Evanston attorney and community leader Jeff Smith, candidate for mayor of Evanston, has
deleted the campaign contribution and donation features from his election eve e-mails and has disabled the Contribution button on the front page of the campaign website. In a statement that echoed a message sent to supporters, Smith explained:

"Just as I don't believe that public places should be sold, I don't believe that elections should be
bought. Voters are sick of being bombarded with requests for money up until the day of an election when, really, little can be done with it. So I've deleted the 'Donate' button from our last e-mail and hidden it from our website. What I'd like voters to do is talk to each other, and to study these campaigns and candidacies in depth.

"We've laid out a vision for Evanston that reflects community values, and made a case that I
have the deep experience and broad skills necessary to grow the Evanston we imagine. Instead of money we are asking supporters and voters to read, consider, and forward our final mailing:
  * Imagine An Amazing Evanston (posted at and
  * Jeff Smith Toolkit (posted at

"Up until 8 years ago, no one had spent more than $30,000-35,000 on a citywide
election. That scale seems about right. Any more and you have to wonder what's
going on. We've raised and spent about $40,000, about the pre-2009 historical
high, adjusted for inflation. That was enough to buy more print ads than any
other campaign (because I still believe in print journalism), competitive
online ad space, five targeted citywide mailings to 20,000 or more voters, a
few more targeted mailings, a few hundred yard signs, campaign buttons, and
hand flyers. We stayed on budget, aren't pouring in any last-minute household
funds, and owe no money.

"In a mere 8 weeks we got out as many, if not more, voter communications than any
other campaign – at 1/3 of what the big bucks guys spent. We applied a skill I
will bring to Evanston as mayor: get more value. More important, though, we've outlined more
substance than anyone else.

"Following the primary, we will resume fundraising for the April 4 election.

"I thank Evanstonians for their thoughtful consideration and ask for their vote on
Tues., Feb. 28."

©2017 Jeff Smith. Paid for by in-kind contribution to Jeff Smith for Evanston. A copy of our report is or will be on file with, and available for purchase from, the Illinois State Board of Elections.
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