Tory police and crime commissioner candidate Craig Mackinlay spent nearly £100k on failed campaign
Craig MacKinlay spent £100k on his commissioner bid
The Conservative candidate in the race to become Kent's first police commissioner spent nearly £100,000 on his campaign - the highest amount of any candidate in the country - and £10,000 more than the actual salary for the post.
And the eventual winner Ann Barnes spent the second largest sum - £64,676 - wooing voters across the county.
The campaign by Conservative Craig Mackinlay saw his team spend £98,751.46 - nearly half of the permitted level of £228,338 - in an ultimately unsuccessful bid to win the race in last year's election.
That was the largest sum spent by any contender in the nationwide poll for the first 41 commisssioners.
Mr Mackinlay, from Medway, entered the race with high hopes of securing the post but was beaten by the independent candidate Ann Barnes, who fought on a platform of keeping party politics out of policing.
She spent close to £65,000 according to figures published by the Electoral Commission from the spending returns filed under electoral law.
During the election, she revealed she had funded her campaign partly through money left to her by her late parents.
Mrs Barnes renewed her call for a free election address for candidates.
"In Kent, I faced the challenge of fighting against the might of the big political Party machines.
Craig Mackinlay meets community leaders in Gravesend on the campaign trail
"Fighting the Conservative 'machine' in Kent is a Herculean task.
"Candidates who want to become an MP are helped to get at least one piece of correspondence to every voter.
"The Commissioner elections were for entire counties and we have more power than MPs. However, this help with mailing was not given. This was particularly unfair on candidates like myself.
"More importantly, it was unfair on the voters of Kent who were in many cases denied the opportunity to make an informed decision about candidates."
The six candidates for the £85,000 a year Kent job spent £206,235 between them.
The spending returns reveal that candidates spending the bulk of their money on leafletting and sending out promotional lierature to voters. Mr Mackinlay spent £71,147 on this, while Ann Barnes spent £59,146.
Kent police commissioner Ann Barnes won the vote
Mr Mackinlay said he remained unconvinced that a taxpayer subsidised election address was the answer.
"We took our campaign very seriously and were out to win...Kent is a big county. A free election address is a way of getting the message out but at the end of the day, should the voters have to pay for it?"
The elections saw one of the lowest peacetime turnouts in British political history with only 15.1% of voters in England and Wales taking part. Turnout in Kent was 16.3%.
In total, candidates in the first ever police and crime commissioner elections spent a total of £2.1m trying to get elected.
Spending by the remaining four candidates in Kent varied widely.
Labour's Harriet Yeo spent £9,028; UKIP candidate Piers Wauchop spent £1,164, the second smallest sum; English Democrat candidate Steve Uncles spent £941 - the lowest - while independent Medway candidate Dai Liyanage, who lost his deposit, spent £30,674.
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