Manheimer, Berthiaume pull in Asheville campaign funds

Esther Manheimer and Maggie Ullman Berthiaume
HEADS OF THE PACK: Mayor Esther Manheimer, left, and Asheville City Council candidate Maggie Ullman Berthiaume have raised more money than any of their competitors in this year’s race for Asheville city government positions. Photos courtesy of the candidates

Mayor Esther Manheimer and climate change consultant Maggie Ullman Berthiaume have raised the most campaign funds so far in this year’s race for Asheville city government positions, according to reports filed by candidates’ campaigns.

Manheimer had raised $19,550 as of mid-July and had $4,995 sitting in the bank. That puts her ahead of City Council member Kim Roney, Manheimer’s remaining challenger in the mayoral contest, who had brought in $14,150 and had $2,027 unspent.

With $29,442 in donations, Berthiaume was by far the most successful fundraiser among the six candidates still vying for the three Council seats on the ballot this year. Only one of the other five, Allison Scott, had raised more than $10,000.

Although both Manheimer and Berthiaume finished at the top of their respective electoral packs in the May 17 primary, campaign fundraising is not always a reliable predictor of election success. For example, Council member Sheneika Smith finished second in the primary but said in late August that she had yet to raise or spend $1,000.

But fundraising is one indicator of a candidate’s chances, says Chris Cooper, a political science professor at Western Carolina University. “The person who raises the most money doesn’t always win, but it is a sign [of support] and it is helpful,” he says.

Campaign money and the advertising it buys may be more important as the city grows, Cooper continues. “Asheville’s changing so quickly, and there’s so many transplants, that the old friends and neighbors voting may matter a little less,” he suggests.

Manheimer’s and Berthiaume’s reports both show several contributors, primarily Democrats, who are either current or former local officeholders. Berthiaume, who was city government’s first sustainability officer, also got donations from people working on climate and environmental issues across the country.

At the other monetary extreme, Smith says her campaign is still active. The incumbent says she is focused more on “friend-raising than fundraising.”

Contributors to the remaining field of candidates hail from San Francisco to Connecticut, although most live much closer to City Hall. No particular special interests dominate the lists of contributors so far, although many donors are retirees, Democratic politicians or candidates’ relatives.

Following are summaries of fundraising by candidates who will be on the Nov. 6 general election ballot for mayor and City Council. Figures are rounded to the nearest dollar. Full campaign finance reports can be viewed at

Mayoral candidates

Esther Manheimer 

  • Raised: $19,550. In the bank: $4,995.
  • Notable contributors: Mack Pearsall, Fairview, businessman and founder of climate science nonprofit The Collider, $3,500; attorney Robert Clifford, Chicago, $1,000; Realtor Glenn Cullen, Asheville; $1,000; nurse practitioner Christopher Harjes, Bent Creek, $1,000; personal trainer Aaron Manheimer, Chicago, $1,000; retiree Ron Manheimer, Asheville, $1,000; Realtor Clarissa Marshall, Fairview, $1,000.
  • Political figures: former City Council members Marc Hunt,  $100, and Chris Pelly, $100; current Council member Gwen Wisler, $250; District Attorney Todd Williams, $100; former state Sen. Terry Van Duyn, $500; Buncombe County Commissioner and U.S. House District 11 candidate Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, $250; and Council candidate Berthiaume, $150.

Kim Roney 

  • Raised: $14,150. In the bank: $2,027.
  • Notable contributors: Roney for Council, the committee handling funds for Roney’s 2020 bid for a regular seat on City Council, $3,300; Taylor Hamilton, Candler, $500; Lara Lustig, Asheville, marketer for Working Wheels, $500; Dr. Donna Page, Asheville, pediatrician, $500.
  • Political figures: former City Council member Cecil Bothwell, $100.

City Council candidates

Maggie Ullman Berthiaume 

  • Raised: $29,442. In the bank: $13,928.
  • Notable contributors: Pearsall, $3,500; Kenneth Brame, Leicester, who heads the local Sierra Club’s sometimes controversial efforts to endorse candidates for public office, $1,000; Wendy Ullman, Doylestown, Pa., not employed, $1,000; Charles Wise, Asheville, not employed, $1,000; Buck Bragg, Asheville, not employed, $761; Nanci Mackey, Asheville, Asheville Property Group, $750. 
  • Political figures: former City Council members Bothwell, $750; Robin Cape, $100; Chuck Cloninger, $500; Bryan Freeborn, $100; Hunt, $500; and Vijay Kapoor, $100; Brownie Newman, chair of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, $250; state Sen. Julie Mayfield, $100; Van Duyn, $100; Beach-Ferrara, $100; former state legislator and County Commissioner Patsy Keever, $100; Williams, $100; and Buncombe Commissioner Parker Sloan, $100.

Andrew Fletcher

  • Raised: $6,580. In the bank: $798.
  • Notable contributors: Andrew Fedynak, Richmond, Va., photographer, $2,000; attorney Laura Conner, Raleigh, $1,000; Elliott Eichler, Asheville, owner of Covert Carts, $1,000; and John Bell, Tryon, not employed, $500.

Antanette Mosley 

  • Raised: $5,475. In the bank: $1,403.
  • Notable contributors: Marshall, $2,000; Nian Avery, Asheville, funeral director, $500; Anton Clark, Charlotte, pricing analyst, Bank of America, $400.
  • Political figures: former Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy, $25.

Allison Scott

  • Raised: $15,790. In the bank: $3,525.
  • Notable contributors: Anne Guse, Placentia, Calif., not employed, $3,000; Harjes, $1,000; Amy Mandel, Asheville, not employed, $1,000; Shelly McCormick, Waterford, Conn., Lowe’s manager, $1,000.
  • Political figures: Christopher Brook, Chapel Hill, an attorney and former N.C. Court of Appeals judge, $750; Beach-Ferrara, who is also Scott’s boss at the pro-LGBT rights group Campaign for Southern Equality, $350; and Van Duyn, $250.

Sheneika Smith 

Smith had not reported any contributions as of late August. She told Xpress she had raised less than $1,000.

Nina Tovish 

  • Raised: $5,270. In the bank: $1,062.
  • Notable contributors: Gordon Atkinson, Austin, Texas, website management, $1,850; nurse Lori Hedrick, Asheville, $275; and Ronald Gordon, Asheville, not employed, $256.
  • Political figures: former Montreat Town Commissioner Mary Standaert, $50.

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11 thoughts on “Manheimer, Berthiaume pull in Asheville campaign funds

  1. blueridgeguvnor

    How anybody could donate or want Mannheim re-elected, it’s just beyond me.

    Truly the worst mayor AVL has ever had

  2. Enlightened Enigma

    Remember: you do NOT have to vote in every race on your ballot ! Avoid this one as neither one of these females are worthy of office. Ditto City Council race.

    AVL suffers DECADES of the same old democrat NON leadership ! WHY do we allow all this detrimental treatment of our city ?

  3. indy499

    This is a helpful article as it provides some voting clues among a horribly weak field. When in doubt, one easy tie breaker is to never, ever vote for any Bothwell buddies.

    One of my favorite days was when that blowhard stepped out of the small Asheville pond and sought a congressional seat. I think he got like 15% of the vote in a democratic primary. LOL.

    • NFB

      Agreed. Cecil Bothwell and Carl Mumpower. Two self righteous ideologues with remarkable similar political career treajectories.

      Both served two terms on City Council, showed nothing but disdain and contempt for anyone who did line up completely with their rigid thinking, ran for a third term only to get booted.

      Bot made runs for Congress only to get crushed. Bothwell with 30% in the primary, and Mumpower with 35% in the general. Mumpower even lost every single county in the district including some of the most rock ribbed Republican ones like Clay, Cherokee, and Henderson.

  4. Barry Shoor

    Why complain now? You all had a chance to change things back a few months during the primaries 🤨

  5. Enlightened Enigma

    Interesting that Kim Roney is not reporting any Antifa nor BLM donations …

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