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Published: Saturday, 8/1/2009

Wilkowski leads candidates in raising campaign funds

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Democratic Toledo mayoral candidate Keith Wilkowski has amassed the largest campaign war chest - with more than $93,000 on hand - while his Independent opponent D. Michael Collins trailed the pack with just $3,337.

Mr. Wilkowski carried over $87,173 from the report for the previous six months. He raised $73,065 between Jan. 31 and June 30 and retained $93,387 after spending $66,850.

"It speaks to the strength of our message that so many people have been willing to invest in change during such difficult economic times," Mr. Wilkowski said. "Together, we are building a grass-roots movement to revitalize our city and create good jobs for Toledo."

Mr. Collins, meanwhile, said he has collected as much as he expected.

"We have raised some money, but obviously I don't have the system that any of the other candidates have - I am truly an independent," Mr. Collins, a Toledo councilman, said.

"I do believe that the money raised by candidates is primarily to market them, and I would hope each of us would have an opportunity to demonstrate what our differences are, our vision for Toledo, and our track records."

Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop, also a Democrat, was a distant second to Mr. Wilkowski in terms of money on hand.

The Konop for Mayor Committee reported carrying over just $444 from the previous report. He raised $28,381 and spent $4,231, leaving him with $24,594.

Mr. Konop said Mr. Wilkowski's financial superiority came as no surprise. "He is supported by the establishment. He is an establishment candidate, and he has a lot of contributions from other candidates," Mr. Konop said.

Mr. Wilkowski dismissed Mr. Konop's comments.

"We have 887 individual contributions, and the greatest number comes from people who contribute $100 or less," he said.

"I am pleased with the extent of the support," Mr. Wilkowski said. "I am approaching the race in a businesslike manner, knowing you need to have the resources to run an effective campaign and you also need hundreds of volunteers, and we have that too."

Former Toledo Fire Chief Mike Bell, who is running as an Independent, raised $58,977. He was left with $23,972 after spending $35,004.

Republican Jim Moody carried over $10,257 from the previous report and raised $8,390.

He spent $10,038 during the period, leaving $8,608 in the campaign fund.

Independent Opal Covey did not file a report.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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