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Published: Friday, 9/2/2005

Ford outpaces foes in campaign funds

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Toledo mayoral primary campaign enters its last full week with Mayor Jack Ford in the lead in at least one category - the heft of his campaign war chest.

Mr. Ford, the incumbent, far outpaces his opponents with $257,645 cash on hand as of Aug. 24, according to finance reports filed yesterday with the Lucas County Board of Elections.

But the reports also show that his two Democratic challengers shifted their campaigns into high gear during the period covered by July 1 to Aug. 24 period:

●Keith Wilkowski's report showed total contributions during the period of $77,400, in addition to $40,000 that he loaned himself and $22,500 that his sister loaned him.

He began the period with $33,050, spent $70,826, and ended with $102,123 cash on hand.

●Carty Finkbeiner collected $97,372 during the period and spent $65,462. He began the reporting period with $4,770 and entered the final stretch with $36,680 cash on hand.

Trailing the field among the leading candidates was Republican Rob Ludeman, who collected $7,431, an amount more typical of candidates running for Toledo City Council than a frontrunning mayoral candidate.

He started the reporting period with $2,019, spent $7,345, and entered the final stretch of the primary campaign with $2,104 cash on hand.

Mr. Ford's campaign consultant, Jim Ruvolo, said the mayor will spend some of his money, but not all of it.

"We're going to spend a decent amount of money on mail and TV over the next two weeks. We'll spend what we think we need to spend," Mr. Ruvolo said. He has already disclosed plans to spend $55,000 on television time next week.

Mr. Ford began the period with $368,376 and added $31,803 during the reporting period. He spent $142,534 and ended the period with $257,645.

According to Mr. Wilkowski's report, he loaned the campaign $40,000, and his sister, Kathy Simko of Toledo, loaned $22,500. Among his bigger contributors were Toledo builder Bruce Douglas, who gave $2,000.

Mr. Wilkowski called the family loans "an investment in the future of Toledo."

Mr. Douglas gave $5,000 to Mr. Finkbeiner's campaign.

Also contributing $5,000 was Randall Alexander of Madison, Wis., who received several downtown redevelopment contracts during Mr. Finkbeiner's previous term.

Mr. Ludeman, the only Republican in the front ranks, said his war chest was sufficient for a primary campaign.

"The only reason to raise a huge amount of money is television, because it's very expensive. You're taking a risk of using a lot of money to hit a very narrow market," Mr. Ludeman said.

"I think that we've raised enough money for the primary election to be in the top two," Mr. Ludeman said.

Among Toledo City Council candidates, Democratic challenger Bob Vasquez was the top fund-raiser, with $8,980 collected during the period, $5,938 spent, and $3,541 cash on hand at the end of the period.

Also making a strong showing as a challenger was Republican David Schulz, with contributions of $6,276, expenditures of $6,118, and $1,708 cash on hand, according to the report.

For other council candidates reporting yesterday, the amounts raised during the period, expenditures, and the cash on hand at the end of the period were:

Betty Shultz (R., incumbent), $5,863, $1,991, and $16,869; Bob McCloskey (D.), $5,150, $8,101, and $21,620; Karyn McConnell Hancock (D., incumbent), $4,625, $2,232, and $3,569; Mitch Balonek (independent), $3,286, $2,915, and $15; Ernie Berry (independent), $3,035, $1,820, and $2,610; Phil Copeland (D., incumbent), $1,792, $6,345, and $8,659; Tom Meinecke (D.), $1,586, $4,508, and $1,601; Karen Shanahan (D.), $1,136, $625, and $1,408; Jason Schreiner (D.), $305, $3,499, $355; Terry Shankland (D.), $90, $1,331, and $0; George Sarantou (R., incumbent), $25, $6,645, and $24. Reports were not available from Democratic incumbent Frank Szollosi and Democratic challengers Mark Sobczak and Robert Tilton.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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