It’s shaping up to be an expensive race for mayor in Evanston this year.

Campaign finance reports filed with the state show that the four mayoral candidates — through a combination of fund raising and personal loans to their own campaigns — have already committed a total of more than $50,000 to the race.

And for three of the four that only represents money raised before the first of the year.

During the 2005 mayoral race, spending by incumbent Lorraine Morton and challenger Peter Godwin totaled less than $44,000 for the entire campaign — with Morton spending about 85 percent of the total to win nearly 73 percent of the vote.

This time, almost half the total receipts reported so far has been raised by 7th Ward alderman Elizabeth Tisdahl, who has loaned her campaign $20,000 and raised $4,850 in contributions — mostly from relatives.

Tisdahl has also spent far more than any other candidate — $12,520.

Next in the money race is marketing consultant Barnaby Dinges, who has raised $10,050 in contributions and loaned his campaign $5,000.

Dinges is also second in spending, at $4,380.

Third in fund raising is attorney Stuart Opdycke, who started the latest reporting period with $2,069 on hand and raised another $4,620. He’s spent $1,712.

Reports for those candidates cover fund raising from last July through December.

The fourth candidate, Jeanne Lindwall, didn’t organize her committee until early this year. She reported raising $2,300 in contributions through Jan. 25 and has loaned her own campaign $4,000. Lindwall so far has reported no campaign expenses.

With the exception of Lindwall, most of the itemized contributions — those over $150 — that each candidate reported came from persons listing addresses outside of Evanston.

When the campaign is over, what will the winner get? The new mayor will make $19,000 a year in the part-time job and receive full family health insurance coverage from the city.

Copies of the candidates’ financial reports are available online from the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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