The final dollar figures in last year’s Porter County general election
proved that size doesn’t always matter in clinching a win.
Republican South County Commissioner candidate Mike Heinold had the biggest
war chest in all the local races. His end-of-the-year campaign report showed
a total of $77,165 in contributions and receipts. From that, $59,561 was
reported during the Oct. 13 to Dec. 31 collection period.
That’s more than his Democrat opponent Laura Shurr Blaney who reported a
total of $63,502. Blaney was the winner in what was probably the county’s
Reports were due last month to the County Voters Registration office.
Heinold’s top individual contributors were engineer Willis Conner of
Indianapolis ($5,000); Douglas and Jeanne Robinson of Valparaiso ($1,000);
Jeffrey and Christine Swan of Valparaiso ($1,000); and Donald and Edna Weis
of Chicago ($1,000).
Organizations and political action committees backing him were Grieger’s
Motor Sales of Valparaiso ($2,500); Royal Brush Manufacturing, Inc. of
Munster ($2,000); Smith Ready Mix, Inc. of Valparaiso ($1,000), the Northern
Indiana Operators Just Labor Management of Countryside, IL ($1,000), and the
Indiana Republican State Committee ($1,000).
Blaney received $6,800 in contributions from her aunt Jacki Stutzman of
Valparaiso in the last few days of the election. Stutzman in the spring
kicked off Blaney’s campaign with a gift of $20,000, easily making Stutzman
the top giver.
Blaney received further support in the amount of $4,050 from the Committee
to Elect Dan Whitten. She also noted a $500 donation from Aim Properties,
LLC of Valparaiso.
Her total in contributions and receipts from Oct. 13 to Dec. 31 was $18,599.
The county’s second most expensive race was that of Superior Court Judge II.
Democrat and election winner William Alexa raised $20,263 for the final
period and $43,473 for the year.
Alexa’s wife Joyce was listed as the campaign’s top individual contributor
with an in-kind donation of $8,367 for newspaper advertisements.
Other notable mentions are a $4,000 donation from law firms Sarkisian and
Fleming P.C. of Portage and Rhame and Elwood, LLC of Portage with $1,300.
Also giving was Iron Workers Local 395 IPAL of Hammond in the amount of
Alexa’s Republican opponent reported $9,984 past Oct. 12 and a year-end
total of $18,503.
Pampalone’s biggest contributor was Angelo Pampalone of Valparaiso whose
contributions totaled $7,100 for the year. Dyer physician Erica Young doled
out $5,000 for the candidate and Nick Pampalone of Crown Point gave $1,000.
Meanwhile, in the County Council at-large races, Democrat Sylvia Graham
raised $2,741.84 past Oct. 12. Her total for the year was $11,396.90 in
contributions and receipts.
Graham loaned herself $1,000 for her campaign win. She gained $100 from DLZ
Industrial LLC of Burns Harbor and $50 from both Michael and Kathleen Easton
of Valparaiso and State Sen. Karen Tallian’s election committee.
Her colleague Dan Whitten, also a Democrat, claimed an additional $8,694 in
contributions and expenditures bringing his total for the year to $20,372.
Whitten’s biggest givers during the final time period were himself with a
$4,453 loan and the Iron Workers Local 395 IPAL of Hammond with $400.
The remaining Democrat, Robert Poparad, listed a $10,000 loan for his
All three Dems won over their Republican challengers in the election.
On the GOP side, the Committee to Elect Mark Hoffman raised $14,793 in
campaign contributions and expenditures in the last days before the election
and reported a cumulative total of $25,329.
Hoffman’s donations for the time period included a $5,600 gift from Next Gen
Political Action Committee; Frank Hoffman of Zionsville ($2,000); J. Brian
Hittenger of Valparaiso ($500); and Mislenkov Enterprises ($1,000).
Meanwhile, fellow Republican Joe Wszolek’s campaign rained in $7,693, with a
year-end total of $15,340. Wszolek’s war chest included a $5,000 donation
from the Indiana Realtors Political Action Committee, $4,000 from the
Indiana Republican State Committee, and $500 from the Valparaiso Fire
Lastly, Ralph Neff claimed a total of $13,959 in contributions and receipts
for the reporting period and $29,493 for the year. A loan of $5,000 was
given by Neff himself to his campaign. Also reported are donations from the
Carpenters and Millwrights Local 1005 PAC of Hobart ($300) and Family
Express PAC of Valparaiso ($250).
In the County Surveyor’s race between Democratic incumbent Kevin Breitzke
and his opponent Richard (Rich) Hudson, Bretizke showed a $2,925 total for
the year in contributions and receipts. Breitzke, whose election win
garnered him a fifth term, used $752 in the few days before the election for
Hudson added $530 for payment of debts. His year-end total was $5,098.