Challenger Brett Mandel leads incumbent City Controller Alan Butkovitz in fundraising for the Democratic primary so far, according to campaign finance reports filed last week.

Mandel shows $206,084 on hand as of the end of December, though $50,000 of that is a loan from Mandel to his campaign committee. Butkovitz's report shows $146,681.

Two other announced candidates filed reports. Attorney Michael Williams showed $28,747 on hand. Former city attorney Mark Zecca reported $14,003.

Because the city's campaign finance law allows donors to make the maximum contribution every calendar year, it was advantageous for candidates' to mount a fundraising push before the end of the year.

Fightin words, as usual

The May 21 primary will be a re-match for Butkovitz and Mandel, who faced off four years ago. Butkovitz was dismissive of Mandel's fundraising efforts.

"Brett obviously manipulated the fundraising for the report," Butkovitz said. "He put $50,000 in on the last day, which he probably got back the day after."

Wrong, Mandell says.

"I need to show Philadelphia I'm serious about this, and I am," Mandel said. "If he wants to make a wager about where that money will be, I'm happy to take the bet."

Butkovitz also said Mandel's report shows he's gotten "in bed with this union-busting movement," pointing to six contributions totalling nearly $20,000 associated with Post Brothers, the developer involved in a bitter dispute with construction unions over the renovation of the former Goldtex factory at 12th and Wood Sts. in Philadelphia.

"I think this is going to be a flashpoint," Butkovitz said. "We've gotten substantial union support, and they're jumping off the ceiling about this."

"Butkovitz is jealous," Mandel said. "I have hundreds of supporters from all across the city. I have supporters who are union members and union supporters, people from every social strata who want to see more accountability and openness in government."

Among those who made the maximum $2,900 individual contribution to Mandel are philanthropist Gerry Lenfest and prominent Democratic contributor Peter Buttenwieser.

Butkovitz said he's having a major fundraiser February 11th, and will do fine financially.

Williams and Zecca are newer to the political game, but got a start on funding their campaigns.

Ten thousand dollars of Williams' contributions, nearly a third of this total, came from Picciotti & Schoenberg, the law firm where he works.

More than half of Zecca's total comes from $11,000 he loaned his camaign.

Nominating petitions for the primary must be filed by March 12.