Challenger Othal Brand outspent McAllen Mayor Jim Darling more than 3-to-1 in April

Challenger Othal E. Brand Jr. at his campaign kickoff in February. (Photo courtesy of the Brand campaign)

Challenger Othal E. Brand Jr. outspent McAllen Mayor Jim Darling more than 3-to-1 during April.

Brand spent more than $84,000 from April 1 to April 26, according to campaign finance records filed with the City Secretary's Office. Darling spent nearly $24,000 from April 6 to April 28.

“The rule of thumb has always been that any challenger will spend more time and money than the incumbent,” Brand said.

Brand — the son of former McAllen Mayor Othal Brand Sr. — also spent significantly more than Darling during the previous filing period, which ran from January to April.

Loans fueled the Brand campaign, funding the production of campaign commercials and an advertising blitz.

Brand loaned himself $74,000 from January to April. He loaned himself another $64,700 during the past 30 days.

The cash infusion allowed Brand to spend more than $28,000 on advertising, including $15,280 at KRGV-TV and $6,650 at KGBT-TV. He also spent about $2,500 with KURV-AM for radio commercials and about $3,800 on print ads in The Monitor newspaper.

“It’s a shotgun approach,” Brand said, adding that he bought print, television and radio ads to reach different audiences.

Brand also benefitted from independent expenditures by supporters.

Ray Norton, who owns Mail-Pak on North 10th Street, said he spent $2,000 on radio ads supporting Brand. McAllen businessman Tommy Phillips, who said he’s concerned about the city’s economic development deals, bought newspaper ads supporting Brand and City Commission District 2 Candidate J.J. Zamora.

“Some people get millions of dollars,” Phillips said. “Virtually everybody else gets nothing but a hard time from city staff.”

Darling spent far less and largely focused on print advertising.

“Those are very, very expensive slots,” Darling said, adding that he’s been focusing on block-walking and meeting with voters in small groups at neighborhood events.

The Darling campaign spent nearly $13,700 on advertising, including $5,000 on radio spots, $7,000 on ads in The Monitor and nearly $1,700 with the Texas Border Business newspaper.

“I hope people get out and vote,” Darling said. “It’s their city, and hopefully they feel strongly enough to go out and vote — and hopefully for me.”

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