Major candidates raising big money for mayor’s race

Lopez collected most early; Bell has more saved

  • Mug-multi-Lopes-Bell-McNamara

  • The three major Toledo mayoral candidates are in a closely contested race to raise the most money, according to campaign finance reports filed Wednesday with the Lucas County Board of Elections.

    Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez, a Democrat, raised the most money for the first six months of the year, $103,393, leaning on big checks from labor unions and hundreds of smaller contributions from grass-roots supporters. But she limped into the second half of the year with only $23,906 left in her campaign account.

    Political independent Mayor Mike Bell came in second at fund-raising, at $91,010, tapping the tycoons of local industry. Thanks to low campaign spending, he started the second half of the year with the heftiest campaign war chest: $106,438.

    KEITH BURRIS COLUMN: Lopez: Is force of will what we need?

    Democratic City Councilman Joe McNamara raised $90,296 during the period, collecting money in solid checks of $200 and $300 from lawyers, fellow progressives, and supporters from across the country. He ended the period with a campaign account of $56,301.

    Mr. McNamara also spent the most, $103,492 on political strategists and data. Ms. Lopez spent $85,044, and Mr. Bell was last, at $37,468. For Ms. Lopez and Mr. Bell, about 10 percent of their spending was in checks to local charitable, civic, and political candidates and causes.

    McNamara campaign manager Andrew Grunwald claimed victory in fund-raising, saying Ms. Lopez had not lived up to expectations of gaining huge labor union contributions.

    “Joe has a grass-roots campaign and we completely beat the expectations. Joe is now the front-runner among the Democrats. It’s becoming clearer each week Joe is the only one who can beat Mike Bell one on one in the general [election],” Mr. Grunwald said.

    Diane May, Ms. Lopez’s campaign spokesman, said, “Anita has broad-based support across Toledo.”

    “Labor unions support Anita because she’s shown she can be fair in negotiating a contract. Anita’s first responsibility is always to the citizens and she’s going to use those relationships she has now with the labor unions in the mayor’s office not to support unions, but to be able to bring them to the table to make the hard decisions,” Ms. May said.

    B.J. Fischer, spokesman for the Bell campaign, said, “We’re pleased with the support we’ve been getting. It’s going to allow us to tell Mike’s story in both the primary and the general [elections].”

    About the number of well-heeled non-Toledoans who gave $1,000 or more to the mayor, Mr. Fischer said, “many of them own businesses in Toledo. Many of them have strong stakes in Toledo. They’re employers. They have every right to be concerned about the future of the region’s largest city.”

    Big fund-raising at this point in a mayoral election is a better predictor of defeat than success. In Toledo’s last two mayoral elections, the candidate who had raised the most money at midyear went on to lose the election — Democratic incumbent Jack Ford to challenger Democrat Carty Finkbeiner in 2005 and Democrat Keith Wilkowski to Mr. Bell in 2009.

    The mayor received $5,000 from Penn National Gaming, owner of Hollywood Casino. Businessmen Don Harbaugh and Michael McAlear each gave $2,000. Robert Reichert, a former Lucas County Republican chairman, contributed $1,000, while Simon Guo, a businessman who helped broker the city’s sale of the Marina District to Chinese investors Dashing Pacific Group, Ltd., gave $500. In addition, Mr. Harbaugh was identified as contributing in-kind contributions of $6,560 for catering, labor, set-up, and room rental for a March 13 event.

    Mr. Bell’s $1,000 contributors included Allan Block, chairman of Block Communications Inc., parent company of The Blade; Richard Salem, Dennis Johnson, Gary McBride, Andrew Stuart, Donald Finnegan, Jr., Jeffrey Potter, Jeffrey Cooley, and Deputy Mayor Stephen Herwat, all of Toledo; George Chapman, Julius Krieger, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Warner, Robert LaClair, and Michael Anderson of Maumee; Robert Wilkins and Randall Oostra, president and chief executive officer of ProMedica of Holland; A. Kimple, J. Scott Stewart, Jack Scultfort, Phillip Rudolph, Timothy Goligowski, John Szuch, John Alexander, Denise Knotts, George Eyde, Kevin Weber, and Larry Davenport of Perrysburg; Richard Moses, Monclova Township; Paul Ormond, Susan Ormond, Marianne Ballas, and Thomas Tuschman of Ottawa Hills; Keith Tuttle of Northwood; Owens Corning Better Government PAC; Michael Gibbons of Ann Arbor; Joseph Shrader, Blissfield, and Shyam Rajadhyaksha of Columbus.

    Mr. Bell reported $4,730 from his own staffers.

    Ms. Lopez reported contributions from more than a dozen labor unions, including $15,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, $12,000 from the Northwestern Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, and $10,000 from the United Food & Commercial Workers.

    Jeff Savage of Maumee, of Adams Street Investment LLC, gave $5,000 to Ms. Lopez. Teamsters Local 20 and Sheet Metal Workers Local 33 gave $4,000. Local 50 Plumbers and Steamfitters gave $3,000. 

    The International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators Local 45 and International Association of Bridge workers Local 55 gave $2,000. Contributors of $1,000 included Donald Newman of Sylvania, Communications Workers of America union, Andrea Henline of Rossford, Harvey Tolson and Stephen Mitchell of Toledo, Ramy Eidi and George Zilba of Maumee, and Brian Mruzek of Waterville.

    Ms. Lopez reported $3,360 from her staff in the auditor's office.

    Mr. McNamara reported many contributions in the hundreds of dollars, but few for $1,000 or more. His biggest contributions were Randy Kelly of Saginaw, Mich., Christopher Kelly of Plymouth, Mich., and his mother, Jill Kelly, with $2,000 each, as well as $2,000 from Craig Cohen of New York City, and $1,000 each from John Evarts and Charles Stansley of Sylvania; James Mossing, attorney Charles Boyk and Richard Shall of Toledo; Emily Lindsey of Monclova Township; Mark Lacy of Mason, Ohio; Richard Bowen of Cleveland; Steven Boone of Columbus; Richard Rosenthal of Cincinnati; James Black II of Loudonoville, Ohio; and William Frankart of Fostoria. Among $500 contributors were Ian James, the leader of a statewide effort to legalize same-sex marriage, Keith Wilkowski, the unsuccessful Democratic 2009 mayoral contender, the Commissioner Pete Gerken campaign committee, James Ruvolo, a former Ohio Democratic chairman from Ottawa Hills, and the International Longshoremen’s Association union.

    Independent mayoral candidate D. Michael Collins reported contributions of $10,267 and cash on hand of $6,475. Libertarian Michael Konwinski reported income of $200 and no expenditures. 

    Independent Alan Cox reported contributions of $2,018 and loans from him and his wife, Tracy Cox, of $10,531. Opal Covey and contributions of $159 and expenditures of $173.

    Contact Tom Troy: or 419--724-6058 or an Twitter @TomFTroy.