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Steinke, Brown early top fundraisers in Council At-Large race

It's still anybody's game but here's a look at who's rising to the top of the fundraising chain in the race for City Council at large.

The wide open race for City Council At-Large looks slightly more narrow when viewed through the most recent campaign finance reports.

Sitting incumbents on both sides of the aisle and four Democratic challengers posted the biggest fundraising numbers for 2014. The figures are as of December 31.

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown raised $128,912, the most of any candidate during this filing period but she only had $58,644 in cash on hand remaining as of December 31. Brown's big contributors include $5,000 from the Friends of Darrell Clarke PAC and $5,000 from the Laborers District Council.

Councilman Ed Neilson, the newest member of Council who won in a special election last year, raised $55,000, thanks to many union contributions, including $11,600 from Local 98 and $10,000 from the Sheet Metal Workers Local 19. Neilson is the former political director of Electricians Local 98. With carryover funds, Neilson had $84,000 on hand as of Dec. 31.

Councilman Wilson Goode Jr. raised $66,500 - $50,000 of which he contributed through a loan.

Councilman William K. Greenlee raised $39,080 in this first reporting blitz, including $10,000 from The Anna Verna Committee. He adds that to a previously amassed $55,121.

Of the non-incumbents, Paul Steinke, former general manager of Reading Terminal Market, pulled in $98,450, of which he personally contributed $20,000. He ended the first filing period with $91,000 on hand - the most of any challenger or incumbent, according to the reports filed.

Steinke is one of seven Democratic challengers who have announced a bid for the at-large race. Several more have hinted at running. The pool was reenergized last week when Councilman James Kenney resigned from his seat to run for mayor, guaranteeing a new At-Large member.

Isaiah Thomas, an adjunct professor at Lincoln University who ran unsuccessfully in 2011, brought in $67,687.

Sherrie Cohen, an attorney with the Tenant Union Representative Network and the daughter of former late at-large councilman David Cohen, raised $61,960 (with $49,300 on hand).

Thomas Wyatt, an attorney at Dilworth Paxson, had raised (and retained) $67,265 through the December 31 deadline.

Also rumored to be running is public schools advocate Helen Gym, who filed a report listing $23,400 in cash on hand, $10,000 of it her own.

Of the $2,326 Jenne Ayers raised, $2,000 came from her father, former Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.

Frank Rizzo Jr. posted the most modest campaign finance report with 39 cents in bank interests for the filing period and a sum total of $2,286 to spend.

On the Republican side, incumbent Councilman David Oh raised $68,961 bringing his cash on hand to $80,865. Dennis O'Brien raised $61,365 of which $11,648 remains.

Despite several Republican challengers announcing their bids to unseat Oh and O'Brien, only two Republican candidates filed reports greater than $250.

Lou Lanni reported raising $2,775.

Dan Tinney, the second youngest of the at-large candidates at 33, has the most cash on hand of any Republican challenger at $41,844.

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