Toledo Mayor Mike Bell and his challenger, City Council member D. Michael Collins debate at the East Toledo Senior Center, Thursday.
Mayor Mike Bell collected a $2,500 campaign contribution from another mayor, New York City’s Michael Bloomberg, according to Mr. Bell’s campaign finance report filed Thursday with the Lucas County Board of Elections.
The news was good because Mayor Bell nearly emptied his campaign account as of Oct. 16 on his re-election effort against his challenger, Councilman D. Michael Collins.
The Mike-to-Mike contribution to defeat another Mike came from New York on Oct. 11.
Mayor Bloomberg is a former Republican who is now independent. Mayor Bell is former Democrat who is now an independent. However, Mayor Bell has the support of Republican Gov. John Kasich and has been endorsed by the Lucas County Republican Party. Mr. Collins is an independent but is supported by the Ohio Democratic Party.
Steve Herwat, Mayor Bell’s deputy mayor and a campaign volunteer, said the campaign doesn’t know what triggered the contribution from Mr. Bloomberg.
“It showed up out of the blue. We’re happy to receive his check and pleased he was willing to support Mayor Bell, but how it came about we don’t know,” Mr. Herwat said.
As of Oct. 16, Mr. Bell spent $178,312 in the reporting period, Aug. 22 through Oct. 16 — more than four times as much as Mr. Collins — leaving Mr. Bell with only $11,432 in his account.
By comparison, Mr. Collins spent only $37,310 in the same period and ended up with $59,391 left.
Mr. Bell said he spent a lot of money to buy time on television. He said he held a fund-raiser Wednesday night.
“We’ve done some buys and we still have active fund-raising going on. We still have more things happening,” Mr. Bell said.
Mr. Collins said his campaign has spent so little compared with Mr. Bell because, “we started with less.”
“Given those who seek and receive his political favors, I’m surprised he does not have more,” Mr. Collins said of the mayor’s contributions.
The report shows Mayor Bell spent $48,321 with Thread Marketing, FLS Group — most of it for a preprimary ad buy in August. The mayor’s campaign recently spent about $50,000 on television ad time, which is not shown in the latest report. Mr. Herwat said the TV ad time was paid for with money that came in after the reporting period ended Oct. 16.
Mr. Bell raised $73,845 during the period. The largest single chunk was a $15,000 check from the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Collins’ report, filed a day early on Wednesday, shows he raised $95,295 during the period.
Mr. Bell has now raised $262,633 for his re-election effort, including the $52,837 he carried over from previous years. By comparison, Mr. Collins has raised $115,849, including the $4,698 he carried over from his council election campaign account. Mr. Bell has spent $251,274, compared to the $61,459 spent by Mr. Collins.
The campaign finance reports from Mr. Collins and Mr. Bell document only part of the spending that is ongoing.
A group called Toledoans for Working Families has mailed at least two different kinds of large, color postcards to Toledo voters, and has an anti-Mike Bell television ad to start airing on WTVG-TV, Channel 13 today.
One mailer depicts the Chinese flag and a picture of Shenzhen, China. The message says, “Mike Bell cares more about creating jobs in China than he does here in Toledo,” and goes on to attack the mayor’s taxpayer-paid trips to China and his sale of the Marina District to Chinese investors.
The organization has an address in Columbus and its treasurer is Jeffrey Ruppert, who was a lawyer in the administration of former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland. Mr. Ruppert did not return calls for comment Thursday. Mr. Ruppert incorporated the organization on Oct. 13, but there is no campaign finance report for it so far on file with the Ohio Secretary of State.
Also spending money on Toledo’s mayoral race is the National Association of Realtors, which mailed a postcard touting Mr. Bell’s accomplishments.
Mr. Bell is on track to spend as much or more than he did four years ago when he ran for the first time and defeated endorsed Democrat Keith Wilkowski. In 2009, Mr. Bell spent $294,048, while Mr. Wilkowski spent $414,843, for a total of about $708,891. By comparison, candidates Mayor Jack Ford and Carty Finkbeiner, both Democrats, spent $1,179,928 in 2005.