Supporters of Porter County Commissioner Bob Harper are digging deep into
their pockets to garner votes on Nov. 2.
Figures reported on Friday show Harper had the highest amount of
contributions in a county race. Campaign finance reports for the
pre-election period were due to voters registration offices Friday.
Candidates were asked to itemize contributions, receipts, and expenditures
from mid-April through Oct. 9.
Center District Commissioner Democrat incumbent Harper raised $80,282 so far
this year while his Republican opponent Nancy Adams nearly matched him with
a reported $77,998.
Harper put up $34,000 of his own money in his campaign, making him the top
contributor. Coming in second is Porter County Council president Dan
Whitten, D-at large, and his wife Stacey who have pledged $5,500. Harper’s
law partner Larry Rogers donated $1,000.
Also contributing $250 or more individually to Harper’s campaign are Michael
Young of Portage ($1,000), Timothy and Karyl McGerth of Carmel ($1,000),
Porter County Drainage Board president Dave Burrus ($500), Doug Olson of
Portage ($500), Michael Forszt of Valparaiso ($500), Mark and Misty Peters
of Lake Station ($500), Portage attorney Gary Germann ($500), Walter
Breitinger of Valparaiso ($450), late public defender James Tsoutsouris of
Valparaiso ($400), Michael Essany of Valparaiso ($300), Ralph Neff of Gary
($300), David and Helen Brandewie of Valparaiso ($250), and Brian and
Deborah Glaze of Granger ($250).
Other contributors include former Valparaiso mayor David Butterfield ($200),
at large county council members Sylvia Graham and Laura Blaney (both $200),
and Harper’s fellow plan commission member Herb Read ($100).
First-time candidate Adams received help in her campaign from Task Force
Tips owner Stewart McMillan and his wife Kathryn ($2,500) and Edward and
Stephany Mullen ($2,500) as her top individual contributors.
McMillan was last year’s top donor to the Citizens for Northwest Indiana
group that promoted the passing of state legislation to create a Regional
Transportation District, with a .25 percent county income tax to fund bus
systems in Lake and Porter Counties and extend South Shore Lines into
Valparaiso and Lowell.
Harper opposed the effort, creating the “Stop the RTA” campaign.
Adam’s $250 and over contributors included Larry and Paula Moore of
Valparaiso ($1,250) Chesterton Town Council president Jeff Trout ($1,000),
Stephen C. Johnson of Phoenix, Az. ($1,000), Urschel Labs owner Robert and
Nancy Urschel ($1,000) Burton and Maureen Langer of Valparaiso ($1,000), Dr.
Mary Ann Sheller of Valparaiso ($1,000), Douglas Miller of Valparaiso
($600), Robert Welsh of Chesterton ($575), William and Janet Dodrill of
Valparaiso ($500), John Wieland of Valparaiso ($500), David Heidt and Hyun
Kee Min of Evanston, Ill. ($500), Peter C. Peuquet of Valparaiso ($500),
Jane Maxwell of Valparaiso ($500), Timothy Scannell of Valparaiso ($500),
Ronald and Marcia Eaton of Valparaiso ($500), Joan and Louis Abbett ($500),
Douglas and Valerie Zale of Valparaiso ($500), Charles Welter of Porter
($400), James McGill of Valparaiso ($350), Jon and Jennifer Schmaltz of
Valparaiso ($302), Richard and Diane Tiemann of Westville ($300), W.F.
Wellman of Valparaiso ($300), Lori Good of Valparaiso ($250), Kevin and Amy
Bold ($250), Robert and Sandy Ashby of Newark, Del. ($250), Timothy Fesko of
Munster ($250), R. Bradley and Debra Koeppen ($250), Joe Semento of
Valparaiso ($250), Deno and Marlene Yiankes of Valparaiso ($250), Gary and
Ramona Bretz ($250), Gary Fisk of Edwardsburg, Mich. ($250), Gregory and
Diana Laroux of Kouts ($250), Larry and Sherry Bucher of Valparaiso ($250),
and Charles McGill of Valparaiso ($250).
Adams also received $6,561 from Strongbow Inn restaurant where she is
co-owner, $10,000 from the Committee to Elect H. Jonathan Costas, $9,200
from the Duneland GOP group, and $3,000 from the Valparaiso Republicans
In the 4th District County Council race, Republican challenger Jim Polarek
posted $6,099 for the pre-campaign total contributions with Nancy Adams and
former Porter County GOP chair Chuck Williams as his top individual donors
with each giving $250.
Democratic County Council member Marylyn Johns trailed her opponent
Polarek’s amount slightly with $5,821 taken in for the period but reached a
total of $7,721 for the year. Her top supporters are fellow council member
Dan Whitten with $1,500 and Peggy Banks of Hobart with $1,200.
As was reported Friday, the Committee to Re-Elect Bob Poparad to the County
Council’s 1st District seat took in $5,500 in contributions and receipts. No
funds were reported by Republican challenger Jim Biggs as of Friday.
Republican county auditor candidate Bob Wichlinski reported taking in
$10,591 in contributions. His donors included Thomas and Barb Pitman of
Cicero with $250 given. Giving $200 were Patrick Bankston of Valparaiso,
W.F. Wellman of Valparaiso, Richard and Carol Parks of Valparaiso, John and
Catherine Peterma of Crown Point, and Indiana State Rep. Ed Soliday.
Wichlinski faces Vicki Urbanik whose contributions were reported in Friday’s
edition of the Chesterton Tribune.
In the county assessor race, the Citizens to Elect Jon M. Snyder accrued a
total of $6,164 in contributions. Republican Snyder’s top individual
contributor was David Lawson of Michigan City with $1,000. Other
contributions included Mark Forszt of Valparaiso’s $600 and Chesterton
resident Paul Payton’s $300.
Snyder’s opponent Portage Twp. Assessor Maureen “Moe” Wendrickx reported
$8,275 in contributions with Cortie Wilson of Valparaiso as the top donor
Incumbent county sheriff David Lain (D) reported $19,469 given to his
committee during the period and $28,206 for the year so far.
Lain’s backers included Donald Erker of Valparaiso ($1,000), Jennifer
Olympidis of Valparaiso ($500), and Walter Alvarez ($400).
Lain’s Republican challenger Ralph G. Levi’s amounts were reported in
Friday’s Chesterton Tribune.
Incumbent County Clerk Pamela Fish (D) reported a $7,327 total. Her top
donations include $1,000 from Valparaiso-based aviation equipment company
Sage-Popovich and $352 from Chip Yanta of Valparaiso.
Republican clerk candidate Karen Martin accrued $1,725 for the pre-election
period. Her primary backers were the GROW Republican Women group with $500
and the Duneland GOP with $200.
In state races, the (Karen) Tallian (D) for Senate Campaign Committee
reported raising a total of $67,055. Tallian is challenged by Republican
Shawn Olson for the 4th District senate seat.
The Citizens For Chuck (Mosley) Committee has raised $27,918 for the
reporting period. Mosley is the incumbent State Representative for the 10th
District seat and will face Republican candidate Kenneth Kaminski.
Kaminski’s committee reported $0 for contributions in its report.
Central Committee Running $21,000 in the Red
Some political groups also turned over their donation information to the
voters registration office.
The Valparaiso Republicans group, which has been sponsoring mailings
criticizing Harper, racked up $69,064 in contributions. Those individuals
contributing $1,000 or more include Bruce Leetz of Valparaiso ($5,000),
Michael Simpson of Valparaiso ($1,000), Stewart McMillan of Valparaiso
($1,000), Marlin Knowles of Valparaiso ($1,000) and Glenn Abbett of LaCrosse
The Porter County Democratic Central Committee reported a total of $39,040
in contributions for the period and $40,570 for the year. Giving to the
committee were commissioner Harper with a $1,200 donation, a $750 donation
from Brian Glaze of Granger, and $370 from Maureen “Moe” Wendrickx.
The county Democrats reported $0 for existing debts while the Porter County
Republican Central Committee $21,228.75 as a figure for debt owed.
The GOP debt goes back as far as 2007 when it was reported the committee
owed $19,111 for “supplies, dues, materials and advertising” purchased by
Chuck Williams who was the committee’s chairperson at that time.
Portage Twp. Trustee Joyce Webster, who succeeded Williams in March 2009 as
the county GOP Chairperson, said the committee wants to resolve the debt but
is not sure what Williams’ plans are. She said the amount is due to a lease
agreement with the building he occupied for his business.
Williams could not be reached for comment this morning.
Webster said she does not see the debt as a high priority and believes it
will get resolved in time.
Porter County Democrat Committee Chair Jeff Chidester felt the debt is an
indicator of how Republicans will run government if elected in November.
“If they can’t manage their campaign funding and they are running in the
red, what do you think they are going to do with Porter County government?”
Chidester said the Democrats take pride in the fact they have been able to
balance their spending over the last four years. He reproved the
Republicans’ status, saying not being able to stabilize the funds is a
disservice towards those who give donations. “It’s a mismanagement of
money,” he said.
The Republican Central Committee did raise $29,235 in contributions for the
reporting period and $30,066 for the year. Top donors included Nancy Adams
($4,000), Porter County Superior Court Judge Mary Harper ($1,000), Peter
Lindemulder of Dyer ($400), and State Senate candidate Shawn Olson ($400).
The county Republican committee reported $28,270 in expenditures for the
year while the Democrats reported $19,630.