It was technically a year off for elections but a number of campaigns were
hard at work in Porter County in 2013, as indicated by the annual finance
reports submitted to the County Voters Registration Office.
Wednesday at noon was the deadline statewide for campaign committees, party
caucuses and political action committees to report funds they received and
gave out in 2013.
The 2013 reports gave a preview of where the big races will be in this
year’s upcoming primary and general elections.
The biggest war chest for a candidate in the running belongs to Democratic
Sheriff candidate David Reynolds, whose reported contributions and receipts
totaled $29,821 as of December 31.
Reynolds, who was previously County Sheriff from 1999 to 2007, listed
Laborers Local 81 of Valparaiso as his biggest contributor, with a donation
Reynolds’ biggest supporters, giving $1,000 each, include V. Thomas Taglia,
of Ogden Dunes; Family Express CEO Gus Olympidis, of Valparaiso; Businessman
Mark J. Forszt, of Valparaiso; Robert Cauffman, of Kouts; Iron Workers Local
395, of Portage; Steelworkers 6787, of Burns Harbor; Citizens for (State
Representative) Chuck Moseley, of Portage; Pyro Industries Services, of
Portage; M + S Collision Center Inc., of Valparaiso; Precision Towing, of
Hammond; Thorgren Tool and Molding Inc., of Valparaiso; Waffco Towing, of
Lake Station; Popovich Family Trust, of Valparaiso and Rhame and Elwood
Portage Professional Center, of Portage.
Others, who gave $250 or more, include Linda S. Bergal, of Ogden Dunes
($500); Attorney Steven J. Mullins, of Merrillville ($500); David Mattix, of
Valparaiso ($500); Joe Meneskie, of Hobart ($500); Ralph B. Gootee Jr., of
Valparaiso ($250); Andrew Thomas, of Portage ($250); Richard Brown, of
Custer, S.D. ($250); and David B. Lasco, of Crown Point ($250).
Top corporate contributors to Reynolds include Rexson Properties LLC, of
Chesterton ($500); I-65 Auto Care, of Hobart ($500); The Trans Pros, of
Hobart ($500); Garriup Construction, of Gary ($500); Scott King Group, of
Merrillville ($500); Ambassador Towing, of Portage ($500); Star Uniforms, of
Portage ($500); Shaw Bros. Inc., of Valparaiso ($500); Michael Gane Builders
LTD, of Westville ($300); Ed Bertholet and Associates, of Valparaiso ($250):
Cappes Inc., of Portage ($250); Miner Electronics Corporation ($250);
Gelsosomo Pizza, of Hobart ($250); and Peerless Potato Chips Inc., of Gary
Political committees giving to Reynolds are DRIVE Committee, of Washington
D.C. ($500); and Visclosky for Congress ($500).
Meanwhile, the report turned in by County Commissioner President John Evans,
R-North, shows a total of $26,717 in contributions and receipts. Evans will
not be running again until 2016, however.
Evans donors include Jackie Stutzman, of Valparaiso ($1,000); Chuck Welter,
of Porter ($500); John and Gretchen Barco of Chesterton ($500); Kenneth and
Mickey Blaney, of Valparaiso ($500); Gus and Beth Olympidis, of Valparaiso
($500); Stewart C. Miller, of Lafayette ($500); Howard and Carol Stuble, of
Valparaiso ($500); Greg and Mary Fox, of Chesterton ($250); Karl Cender, of
Valparaiso ($250); Jeanne and Nicholas Sommer, of Valparaiso ($250); Mike
Sakich, of Chesterton ($250); Porter County Republican Party Chairman
Michael Simpson, of Valparaiso ($250); Dawn Bernhardt, of Chesterton ($250);
Harry Howison Sr., of Chesterton ($250); Bob and Kay Welsh of Chesterton
($250); Jim Dyer, of Chicago ($250); Ralph Neff, of Gary ($250); Stephen
Lucas, of Chesterton ($250); Todd Leeth, of Valparaiso ($250); James Read,
of Chesterton ($250); and John Rhame, of Portage ($250).
Evans received a direct $2,500 contribution from the DPBG political action
group in Indianapolis.
Evans’ list of corporate backers includes DLZ Indiana, of Burns Harbor
($1,000); Luke Oil, of Hobart ($1,000); Beam Longest and Neff LLC of
Indianapolis ($1,000); G.E. Marshall, of Valparaiso ($750); Awin Management,
of Phoenix ($500); Great Life Memories LLC, of Valparaiso ($500); Garriup
Construction, of Gary ($500); Debco Metal Coverts, of Francesville ($500);
Falk Engineering, of Portage ($250); Blachley, Tabor, Bozik and Hartman law
offices, of Valparaiso ($250); PAS, of Chesterton ($250); Porter Bank, of
Porter ($250); and Walsh & Kelly, of Griffith ($250).
County Assessor Jon Snyder also gave $150 to Evans’ campaign. Portage Mayor
James Snyder’s committee made a $500 contribution as did former Portage
mayor and County Jobs Cabinet member Doug Olson.
In other reports, Center County Commissioner Republican Nancy Adams, who
recently filed for reelection, reported a $500 loan to her campaign
Adams’ challenger for the 2014 general elections, Democratic County Council
At-Large member Sylvia Graham, reported a $3,000 loan she made to her
committee in 2013.
South County Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney reported one donation of $350
from Robert Cauffman of Kouts. Her seat will be up for election in 2016.
Someone else gathering some big numbers for a reelection is County
Councilman Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd, who amassed $11,452 in contributions and
receipts during 2013.
Individuals giving more than $250 for Rivas’ campaign were County Council
President Dan Whitten, of Hebron ($250); and Mark and Cheryl Oprisko, of
Rivas received support from businesses including Rhame and Elwood Portage
Professional Center ($350); and Kennedy Plastics, Inc. of Portage ($250). An
indirect donation was attributed to Clancy’s Irish Pub, of Portage, for
$1,500 for a fundraiser Rivas held there.
Organizations and political action committees giving to Rivas include
Bricklayers Local 4, of Anderson ($750); USW Local 6787, of Burns Harbor
($500); Iron Workers Local 395 IPAL, of Hammond ($450); Pipe Fitters
Association Local 597 U.A., of Chicago ($300); NWI State Building and
Construction Trades Council PAC, of Munster ($250); USW Local 6103, of
Portage ($250); Boilermakers Local #374, of Hammond ($250); Laborers’ Local
41, of Munster ($250); Plumbers Local Union 210, of Merrillville ($250);
IBEW 697, of Washington D.C. ($250); USW Local Union #12775, of Porter
($250); NWI Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, of Merrillville ($250).
Rivas received $600 from Citizens for Chuck (Moseley); a $150 donation from
Democratic County Sheriff candidate David Reynolds and $100 donations from
State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, and County Treasurer Mike Bucko.
Also, County Coucncilman Jim Polarek, R-4th, reported a campaign
contribution of $250 from Mark Forszt, of Valparaiso, in 2013.
County Assessor Jon Snyder, whose term is up this year, reported $13,952 in
contributions and receipts during 2013.Ê
Snyder received $1,000 from Gordan A. Fishler and Associates, the firm that
is contracted to provide legal representation on the PTABOA board.
Contributions of $250 or more came from Mark Forszt of Valparaiso ($1,000);
John Cortina, of Portage ($1,000); Family Express Corp., of Valparaiso
($1,000); Century 21 Alliance Group, of Valparaiso ($750); Golden Gate
Development, of Valparaiso ($500); X Soft Inc. of Valparaiso ($500); Galvin
Fisher of Elkhart ($500); Cender and Company, of Merrillville ($500); Harbor
Automatic Group, of Michigan City ($300); Lakeshore Ford, of Burns Harbor
($250); and Circle R. Electric, of Portage ($250).
Snyder received help from his brother, Portage mayor James Snyder, who made
a direct donation of $500.
Corporate donations to Snyder came from Burke Costanza & Carberry law firm
of Valparaiso ($1,000) and Professional Appraisal Services of Chesterton
As of deadline today, Snyder has not filed for re-election.
County Coroner Chuck Harris reported a loan of $771 from himself.
County Auditor Robert Wichlinski reported contributions from Paul Sur, of
Valparaiso ($250) and Burke, Costanza and Carberry LLP law firm, of
County Treasurer Mike Bucko showed a $1,500 direct contribution from the 5/3
Bank Corp. of Columbus, Ohio.