Spending big didn't guarantee win for candidates in 2015 N.W.T. election

Elections NWT has released candidates’ financial reports for the 2015 election, and they show that spending big on campaigns didn’t guarantee a win.

Elections NWT released candidates' financial reports on Monday

Five candidates running in Yellowknife ridings spent more than $19,000 in expenses on their bids to become MLAs in the November 23, 2015 election. (Chuck Stoody/Canadian Press)

Elections NWT has released candidates' financial reports for the 2015 territorial election, and they show that spending big on campaigns helped, but was no guarantee of a win.

Five Yellowknife candidates running in the November 23 election ran campaigns that cost more than $19,000. Campaign spending includes the purchase of things such as signs and other advertising, office space and travel.

By a small margin, incumbent Kam Lake MLA Dave Ramsay was the biggest spender of the 2015 election. Ramsay's campaign cost $22,787.15, but he also pulled in hefty donations of about $21,000. That wasn't enough to win though. Kieron Testart only spent $12,446.59, but took the riding on election day.

In Yellowknife North, Dan Wong's campaign cost $21,852.60. It wasn't enough to beat elected MLA Cory Vanthuyne though, who spent $19,986.03. Vanthuyne also spent more of his own money than any other candidate, shelling out more than $13,000 of his own cash.

Julie Green, now MLA for Yellowknife Centre, spent $21,133.75, but racked up the most donations of any candidate, with more than 70 donors contributing about $20,000.

Green beat incumbent Robert Hawkins, who spent $19,475.76 on his campaign.

Numbers dip outside Yellowknife

The spending numbers dip dramatically in ridings outside of Yellowknife, averaging well under $10,000 per campaign.   

Mackenzie Delta's David Krutko and Yellowknife North's Sean Erasmus tied for the most frugal candidates. They received no contributions and spent nothing. They also finished last in their respective ridings.

Jackson Lafferty, who was acclaimed as the only candidate in Monfwi, also spent nothing and received no donations.

Jane Groenewegen, who was unseated in Hay River South after serving 20 years as an MLA, spent $20,064.20 on her re-election bid. The successful candidate, Wally Shuman, spent $14,920.97.


  • An earlier version of this story stated that Deh Cho candidate Lyle Fabian received no contributions and spent nothing on his campaign. In fact, he has not yet submitted his financial report to Elections NWT.
    May 03, 2016 2:43 PM CT

With files from Richard Gleeson


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