Both incumbents and challengers in the Porter Town Council races built up
their war chests for what may have been the most heated battles of
Duneland’s 2011 municipal elections.
Candidates were required by the state to report their pre-election campaign
contributions and receipts more than $100 on Oct. 21. Reports were filed
with the Porter County Election Board.
Porter Town Council 5th ward incumbent Michelle Bollinger’s committee
claimed the largest total donations of all the council races, collecting a
total of $4,242 for the year.
Bollinger’s top donor was the Duneland GOP group at $1,259. Second was
Republic Service Employment, headquartered in Phoenix, which gave Bollinger
$1,000. Individual contributors included former Portage mayor Doug Olson
($500), Mark Lecy of Porter ($500) and Porter Plan Commission member Lorain
Further help came from companies like the Duneland Group Inc. ($500), Wesco
Construction of Porter ($100), and Great Life Memories of Valparaiso ($100).
Bollinger, a Republican, lost to her challenger, Democrat Greg Stinson, by
more than 300 votes according to the county’s unofficial results.
Outgoing Porter Town Council president Republican Trevin Fowler, who will be
replaced in the 4th Ward by Democrat Elka Nelson, took in a reported $737
for the campaign period.
Fowler’s backers include Mark Lecy of Porter ($250), Bruce Reyes of Beverly
Shores ($100), Anthony Kmitta of Porter ($100) and K. Bruce Snyder ($50).
Great Life Memories donated $100, same as it did for Bollinger.
The Committee to Elect Rob Pomeroy reported a total of $219 for the
reporting period and $959 for the year. Contributors included Pomeroy
himself and Lorain Bell who made a $200 pledge to Pomeroy before May’s
Pomeroy ran unopposed in November as a Republican in Porter’s 3rd ward. He
defeated Ron Bush in the primary.
Running unopposed in both elections, Porter’s 2nd ward candidate Republican
Jeannine Virtue reported $442 this year in contributions and receipts,
herself as the sole contributor.
In Chesterton, Town Council member Republican Jim Ton filed his financial
report with a figure of $0.
The biggest fundraising totals in all county municipal elections were in the
Portage and Valparaiso mayoral races.
The county’s biggest war chest in 2011 belonged to Portage mayor incumbent
Olga Velazquez, who listed a total of $139,533 for the April to mid-October
period and $179,565 for the year so far, compared to her opponent Republican
James Snyder who raised $59,540 over the last six months and $73,985 for the
Velazquez’s biggest donors included Iron Workers Local 395 in Portage with
($3,300), Indianapolis engineer Greg Hennecke ($2,700), former Porter County
Commissioner Robert Harper ($2,000), Boilermakers Local 374 of Hammond
($2,500), Republic Services Employment of Phoenix ($2,000), Portage law firm
Rhame & Elwood LLC ($1,600), Duneland Group of Chesterton ($1,100) and
Porter County Council President Dan Whitten ($800).
Snyder’s top backers are Crossroads PAC of Schererville ($8,563),
International Longshore-men’s Association ($5,950), Porter County
Republicans ($4,500), Matthew Gariup of Gary ($2,000), International Union
of Operating Engineers Local 150 of Countryside, Ill. ($1,500), and the
Indiana Realtors Political Action Committee ($1,500).
Locally, Snyder collected from public officials County Commissioner Nancy
Adams ($250), 1st District County Council representative Jim Biggs ($250)
and Duneland School Board member Ralph Ayres ($50).
Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas raised $76,744 in total contributions since
April and $87,074 for the year.
His top donations came from Kurt and Kimberly Minko of Crown Point ($5,000),
Matthew Gariup of Gary ($4,250), Porter County Commissioner Nancy Adams
($1,000), Valparaiso Fire Fighters PAC ($3,000), DLZ Industrial of Burns
Harbor ($1,750), and Valparaiso law firm Blachly, Tabor, Bozik and Hartman
Costas defeated Robert “Bob” McCasland who ran as an Independent in the
election. McCasland reported a total of $5,282 in contribution and receipts
but did not provide a list of donors.
Snyder defeated Velazquez by less than 300 votes.