CATHY McGowan’s fund-raising campaign has received more donations than any of the independent MPs who were successful in the 2010 federal election.
The rural consultant this week burst through the $100,000 mark for donations and had raised $114,662 up to 11pm last night.
The tally outstrips the individual donation totals for Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie who contested the last federal election as independents.
Mr Windsor, who has previously offered support to Ms McGowan, received $13,575 in gifts or donations for the 2010 contest, while Mr Katter attracted $65,556, Mr Oakeshott $41,126 and Mr Wilkie $28,091.
The figures are based on returns provided to the Australian Electoral Commission.
Ms McGowan, who has used crowd-sourcing to attract funding, said she was delighted and humbled to have reached the target of $100,000 set earlier this month.
She said in true grassroots nature, the donations had come from more than 1000 individuals who had “chipped in what they could”.
The campaign received a fillip from Monday night’s Indi candidates’ forum with 91 donations, totalling $11,775, received in the 24 hours afterwards.
The war chest allows Ms McGowan to spend more money on promotion, with a 30-second prime-time television commercial on Prime7 costing $200 to $300 and full page advertisements in The Border Mail which can average $3000.
The independent’s team of more than 400 volunteers has spent more than $30,000 on printing and almost $20,000 on signage and T-shirts as part of efforts to unseat incumbent Liberal member for Indi Sophie Mirabella.
Ms McGowan said all printing had been done across four local businesses — two in Wangaratta, one in Wodonga and one in Albury.
“The important thing for me is that the money we have received has been injected straight back into the community,” Ms McGowan said.
Her four office spaces — Wodonga, Wangaratta, Benalla and, as of last weekend, Alexandra — have all been donated.
Greens candidate Jenny O’Connor tweeted she was “green with envy” by the news.
But remained slightly sceptical about the sums.
“Clearly they’ve run a great marketing campaign, so all credit to them,” Ms O’Çonnor said.
“But I have mixed feelings on the amount of money being spent.
“In the end we run presidential-type campaigns and those with the most money win.”
Ms O’Connor, with a budget of just $2000, said she preferred debates and forums.
“Then people really get to see their candidates and who they’re voting for, and that should be the focus,” she said.
ALP candidate Robyn Walsh said the fund-raising effort was “amazing”.
“Our $8000 campaign can’t match Cathy’s or Sophie’s,” she said.
“I just trust the people of Indi to research the candidates and vote correctly, as preferences are going to be vital in this election.”