Chesterton Tribune


Last minute donors revealed in final 2012 campaign reports

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The final dollar figures in last year’s Porter County general election proved that size doesn’t always matter in clinching a win.

South County Commissioner

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 most-watched race.

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.

Judge race

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 $800.

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.

County Council at-large

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 election win.

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 Fighters.

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 newspaper ads.

Hudson added $530 for payment of debts. His year-end total was $5,098.



Posted 2/15/2013