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Published: Friday, 10/23/2009

Wilkowski leads in funding Democrat raises twice as much as Bell

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

Toledo mayoral candidate Keith Wilkowski raised more than twice as much money as his opponent, Mike Bell, in the last campaign finance period, according to reports submitted Thursday to the Lucas County Board of Elections.

Mr. Wilkowski, the endorsed Democrat to succeed Mayor Carty Finkbeiner in the Nov. 3 election, collected $139,894 during the period Aug. 27 to Oct. 14 and spent $99,051.

Independent candidate Mike Bell raised $63,181 and spent $49,015. He started the period with $28,500, and ended with a balance of $42,666.

So far, since Aug. 1, Mr. Wilkowski has outspent Mr. Bell almost 2 to 1, or $177,780 to $89,887.

Mr. Wilkowski started the period with $66,973 and entered the crucial final three weeks of the campaign with $107,815 left in his campaign war chest.

The Wilkowski campaign released a second TV spot Thursday. It highlights Mr. Wilkowski's plans to create jobs, hold the line on taxes, and try to expand college access and lower utility bills. Like the first commercial, the ad opens by attacking Mr. Bell over taxes.

Mr. Wilkowski has already started putting commercials on TV, with two buys of about $48,000 each on WTOL, Channel 11, and WTVG, Channel 13.

"I'm honored and humbled that so many are placing their faith in me to lead our city during challenging times," Mr. Wilkowski said in a prepared statement.

Mark Luetke, media consultant for Mr. Bell, said the Bell campaign has continued to raise money since Oct. 14 and plans to start airing commercials next week.

"We are feeling well positioned. We have a strategy. We know what the voters are interested in, and we feel we have enough money to deliver our message to those voters," Mr. Luetke said.

Mr. Wilkowski's biggest contributors included the Ohio state United Auto Workers political action committee, $10,000; Richard Bage, president of MedCorp Inc., $5,000; Columbus lawyer Lee M. Smith who gave $5,000; Toledo lawyer Mary Ellen Pisanelli, Ottawa Hills, $5,000; David Simko, Mr. Wilkowski's brother-in-law, $5,000; the law firm Squire Sanders & Dempsey of Washington, $2,500; Sylvania Township lawyer R. Jeffrey Bixler, $5,000; James Black, Waterville, $5,000; Realtors political action committee, Columbus, $4,000; Alex Johnson, Maumee, $3,500; Paul Goldner, Toledo, $3,000; Susan Ormond, Toledo, $2,500; Craig Burns, Toledo, $2,500; John Czarnecki, Toledo, $2,500; James Ruvolo, $2,000; and Charles Stansley, Sylvania, $2,000.

Mr. Bell's two biggest contributors were the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fund, which gave $10,000, and the Realtors political action committee, $4,000. Also contributing more than $1,000 were Sarah Jane Dehoff, Perrysburg, $2,500; Michael Fischer, Temperance, Mich., $2,000, and Scott Stansley, Sylvania, $2,000.

Among Toledo council candidates whose reports were available yesterday, Democrat Joe McNamara, an incumbent at-large councilman, had the most money available - $28,359, counting funds he carried over from the last reporting period and collected in this period.

Polly Taylor-Gerken, a Democrat, had $20,815 in available cash. Democrat Steven Steel, who is seeking to hold on to an appointed council position, had $16,565 in available campaign funds. They were followed by Democrat Adam Martinez with $12,425, Republican Rob Ludeman with $8,511, Democrat Terry Biel with $2,633 and Republican Constantine Stamos with $1,320.

Kevin Dewine, chairman of the state Republican Party, was the guest speaker yesterday at a $100-per-person fund-raiser at Packo's at the Park for Republican candidates in Toledo.

Mr. Dewine said he believes Ohio voters have "buyer's remorse" over the election of President Obama and are disenchanted enough with Democratic policies that a newcomer Republican candidate on Toledo city council has a chance, despite Democratic dominance in Toledo politics.

"I don't buy in this political environment that anyone's a long-shot," Mr. Dewine said, referring to Constantine Stamos, one of three endorsed Republicans for council. "It's a great opportunity for people like Rob [Ludeman] and George [Sarantou] but I think it's a wonderful opportunity for people like Constantine to make inroads."

Mr. Ludeman, a former city councilman, is seeking a return after a two-year hiatus from council, while Mr. Sarantou is seeking re-election. The two came in first among the 12 top finishers in the Sept. 15 primary. Mr. Stamos came in ninth.

Also participating in the fund-raising event were Republican candidates Bill Connelly, Jr., running for Toledo Municipal Court judge, and Mindy Jenson, for Toledo Board of Education.

Jon Stainbrook, chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party, said the party is helping local candidates with access to voter lists and with a slate card to be mailed to voters.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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