Democrat Anita Lopez surged ahead of her mayoral-race rivals in fund-raising during the most recent campaign reporting period, raising the most and spending the most, but ending up just about even with City Councilman Joe McNamara for money left on hand.
With independent Mayor Mike Bell widely expected to finish as one of the two top vote-getters in the Sept. 10 primary vote, and with the Democratic Party officially sitting on the sidelines until after the primary, Mr. McNamara and Ms. Lopez have been duking it out for partisan support.
Ms. Lopez held another fund-raiser Thursday night at Parkway Plaza in Maumee. The theme of the event was “Overhaul the Water Department,” and contributors were invited to chip in as much as $5,000.
Ms. Lopez, the Lucas County auditor, raised $80,725 during the July 1-Aug. 21 period and spent $60,428, ending with $44,249 in her account, according to her report filed Thursday with the Lucas County Board of Elections.
Ms. Lopez collected more than half of her latest haul from labor unions, especially in the construction and building trades, with $20,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; $11,000 from Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 50; $6,000 from the Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 33; $5,000 from American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 8, and $2,500 from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades in Hanover, Md.
City Councilman Lindsay Webb kicked in $3,000 from her own campaign account. And Emily’s List, a national political action committee for Democratic, female, pro-choice candidates, gave $1,000. Ms. Lopez reported no in-kind contributions.
“As we head into the final days of the primary campaign, we’re gaining momentum and are excited to have the grass-roots support of a wide range of Toledoans,” said Diane May, a Lopez campaign spokesman.
Mr. McNamara, who has run the most aggressive television and direct-mail advertising campaign, reported contributions of $40,055, expenses of $49,947, and an ending balance of $46,408. Mr. McNamara also reported $5,168 of in-kind contributions.
Andrew Grunwald, Mr. McNamara’s campaign manager, said the report shows grassroots support, with average contributions of about $230. “We don’t have big donors dropping $10,000 to $15,000 checks, but regular people giving what they can,” Mr. Grunwald said. “Since the 21st we haven’t stopped raising money. We’re going to keep working extremely hard and do everything we can to ensure that Joe is one of the Top 2 candidates on Sept. 10.”
Mayor Bell continued to build his campaign war chest and spent the least money of the three, apparently saving his power for the general election campaign. He raised $44,880 during the reporting period and spent $35,494, including $17,500 for a private poll of Toledo voters’ attitudes, information likely to be used to shape the content of television advertising to come later. The mayor ended the period with $115,899.
Bell spokesman B.J. Fischer said, “We are pleased with our support to date. Our goal is to advance to the general and continue raising the funds that will be needed to tell the mayor’s story.”
Councilman D. Michael Collins raised $5,589 during the period and received a $5,000 loan from his wife, Sandra Drabik. The Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association, which endorsed Mr. Collins Aug. 16, donated $2,000.
Mr. Collins spent $15,659 as of Aug. 21, including $7,500 to AB&B Ergonomics of Toledo for production and television time, leaving only $1,405 in his account.
Mr. McNamara is spending the most aggressively to reach voters by television, according to a check by The Blade with WTOL-TV, Channel 11 and WTVG-TV, Channel 13, Thursday. He has committed a total of $79,415 for television commercials on Toledo’s two leading stations.
That’s more than twice as much as Ms. Lopez, who has committed $33,070 for commercials to start Saturday, and Mr. Bell’s relatively nominal commitment of $21,805 for commercials to begin airing Tuesday. Mr. Collins bought $4,760 worth of time on Channel 11.
Libertarian candidate Michael Konwinski showed no contributions in his report, but loaned his campaign $500. He ended the period with $161. Independent Alan Cox and Republican Opal Covey did not submit reports as of 4 p.m. Thursday.