Chesterton Tribune

County Republicans outraise Democrats nearly 2 to 1 in 2010 elections

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Four months after the 2010 Porter County General Elections, the county’s political party committees revealed their total contribution and expense amounts for the year including the final days leading up to the election.

Committees were required by statute to report their figures up to Dec. 31 of last year to the county voter registration office.

The county’s Republican groups who were overwhelming successful in winning nearly every available office, what some referred to as “the Republican Tsunami,” collected far more in contributions than their Democrat counterparts.

The Porter County Republican Central Committee reported a total of $66,536.28 in contributions and receipts during the report period of Oct. 9 through Dec. 31 and $94,806.32 for a year-end total.

The GOP got a big push from local corporations and campaign committees during the reporting period. Valparaiso law firm Blachly, Tabor, Bozik and Hartman gave $1,500 to the committee while Eastgate Investments II UC, Sound Construction Comp., and Steiner Homes Ltd., all of Valparaiso, gave $1,000 each.

The Committee to Elect H. Jonathan Costas dished out $2,000 while the Committee to Elect Ralph A. Levi for Sheriff gave $1,400.

Former GOP Chairman Charles Williams also provided an in-kind donation of $20,099.35 to pay off existing debt for the committee regarding use of his office building at 212 Lincolnway in Valparaiso for the party’s headquarters in 2008. Williams reported the amount as a loan in 2008 when the state party could no longer issue funds from license plate money that had been used to cover the lease.

Reporting an even bigger total is the Valparaiso Republicans who were responsible for mailing out advertisements attacking county commissioner Democratic candidate and incumbent Robert Harper. While the county GOP took in less than the six-figure mark, the Valparaiso GOP surpassed it reporting $111,164 for the year total, with $42,100 for the Oct. 9 - Dec. 31 reporting period.

The group’s top individual donors during that reporting period were Matthew Gariup and Bruce Boyer of Munster, both with $5,000 donations. Other top donors included: Willis Conner of Indianapolis ($4,000), James Kovacs of Indianapolis ($3,000), Martin Knowles of Indianapolis ($3,000) Harley Snider of Valparaiso ($2,500), Robert Meeder of Pittsburgh, Pa. ($1,000).

The financial disclosure forms also showed the Valparaiso Republicans received donations from the following businesses (giving $1,000 or more): Wheeler Trail in Chicago ($2,000), EG Marshall in Valparaiso ($2,000), Smith Ready Mix in Valparaiso ($1,500), Royal Brush MFG in Munster ($1,000), and Grieger Motor Sales in Valparaiso ($1,000).

From local campaigns, the Valparaiso Republicans got support from the Committee to Elect Ralph Ayers which gave a $5,000 donation and $1,000 from the Conover For Trustee group.

The remaining GOP group, The Duneland Republicans, also reported their figures at last Tuesday’s deadline with a total of $11,995.

Top individual backers include: Kenard Taylor of Valparaiso ($1,000) Ken Blaney of Valparaiso ($1,000), James Ruge of Beverly Shores ($250), Larry Lowlsen of Chesterton ($250), Arnold Gough of Chesterton ($250), Gary K. Fish of Edwardsburg, Mich. ($250), and Robert Walsh of Chesterton ($250).

Businesses giving to the Duneland GOP were: T&P Development in Chesterton ($1,000), MGM Enterprises in Chesterton ($250), Servstall Inc. in Merrillville ($250), and Karavan Restaurants in Chesterton ($100).

Democrat Amounts

The county Democrats collected only half the campaign donations their opponents did according to their reports filed during the mid-term elections.

The Porter County Democratic Central Committee reported $32,601 in contributions and receipts for the reporting period and $52,231.04 for the year.

County Democrat Party Chairperson Jeff Chidester said the Republicans generally outmatch his figures due to the nature of GOP contributors who are made up of lawyers, businesspeople, and investors. Chidester also pointed out the Republicans have many out-of-state contributors while he prefers to see his donations coming from within the county.

The county Democrats received help from the following groups, committees, and businesses: Rhame & Elwood law firm ($500), Visclosky for Congress ($2,500), Committee to Re-Elect Judge Julia Jent ($2,268), Citizens for Chuck (Moseley) Committee ($500), Committee to Elect Jeremy Rivas ($500), Friends of Charlie Brown ($500), Olga for Mayor Committee ($500), Tallian for Senate Campaign Committee ($500), Committee to Elect Millie Arocho ($408), and the Committee to Elect Thomas W. Webber ($303),.

Organizations giving to the Democrats were Iron Workers Local 395 IPAC in Hammond ($1,000), Local 6787 Political Education and Legislative Fund in Chesterton ($900), and IBEW Educational Committee ($500).

The First District Democrat Central Committee, which also includes Lake and Jasper counties, were given a boost from the following organizations: IBEW 21 in Downers Grove, Ill. ($500) and Laborer’s Local 81 in Valparaiso ($500).



Posted 3/7/2011