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11-01-02: Mercer County campaign finance
Republicans outspend Dems

The Daily Standard
    Halloween was yesterday, but a look at Mercer County's campaign finances today can be frightening, at least to local Democrats.
    Local Republican candidates are out-pacing Democrats in gathering cash and in-kind services for Tuesday's election, and Democrats already have been complaining publicly.
    Candidates running for local offices filed last week the third of four quarterly campaign finance reports due in the election's office.
    The Daily Standard reviewed the campaign reports of local candidates, examining where funds are coming from and in what amounts. All amounts are approximate. The reports were due Oct. 25 and outline spending through Oct. 10.
    The reports haven't been audited by the elections staff, Elections Director Toni Slusser said, so information could be presented incorrectly or not included in the reports. Campaign treasurers will be required to file an amendment if corrections are needed.
    In the race for county commissioner,incumbent Democrat Ray Cron's challenger Jim Zehringer of Fort Recovery accumulated $18,212 during the first three quarters of this year, while Cron amassed $12,191.
    Zehringer has spent $17,595 on the election so far. Cron has spent $12,191 so far.
    A majority of Cron's funds came from an $8,500 loan to himself and $1,000 from the Mercer County Democrat Central Committee.
    Zehringer's account received $4,300 in cash from himself, $1,000 from the Mercer County Republican Central Committee and $905 from the Realtor's Political Action Committee, out of Columbus.
    Zehringer also has Cron beat for in-kind donations, non-cash donations that are not added to total figures.
    Cron has no reported in-kind contributions, while Zehringer received $5,112 worth of printing and postage work from the Ohio Republican Party.
    In the race for Mercer County Juvenile/Probate Court Judge, funding levels are higher than other local races.
    Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney Andy Hinders gathered $32,931 so far this year. His opponent, Mary Pat Zitter, has gathered $21,035.
    Democrat Hinders' funds came from a $30,000 loan to himself, added with a few dozen donations from family and other individuals.
    Zitter's main contributor also is her family, with $12,500 from her husband Tom Zitter and more than $2,500 from brothers and sisters.
    Zitter also received $905 from the Realtor's Political Action Committee, of Columbus, and $3,625 in in-kind services from the Ohio Republican Party.
    Both received $1,000 from their central committees.
    Zitter spent $19,962 so far, and Hinders spent $17,591.
    In the race for county auditor Democrat incumbent Mark Giesige raked-in $11,095, while Republican opponent Jonny Dicke combed in $11,855.
    Giesige's main sponsor was himself, with $4,500.
    Dicke's main supporter also is himself, with a $6,000 loan. He also received $905 from the Realtor's Political Action Committee.
    In in-kind contributions, Dicke took in $7,453 from the Ohio Republican Party.
    Both received $1,000 from their respective central committees.
    Committees also are gathering and spending money in support of school levies in Coldwater, Celina and Parkway.
    The United for Parkway's Kids committee has spent $8,071 so far. The largest contributor was the Rockford American Legion, with $1,000.
    The Bulldog Levy Campaign, in Celina, has gathered $2,330 so far. No expenses are listed on the report.
    The Coldwater Advocates for Voter Success (CAVS) committee has spent $2,176 so far, with the largest contributor being Fanning/Howey Associates, Inc., Celina, with a $1,000 donation.


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