Monroe County campaign finance: 4 races, 17 candidates, $115K

Primary Election Day is May 3.

One limited measure of how much support candidates have among voters is the amount and range of financial contributions to their campaigns so far.

text is "pre-primary campaign finance filings" overlaid on top of a bag with a dollar sign on it

For the 2022 election season in the state of Indiana, pre-primary campaign finance forms were due at noon last Monday, April 18. Those forms are supposed to cover donations and expenditures for the period between Jan. 1, 2022 and April 8, 2022.

The B Square took a look at some of the early campaign finance filings by candidates in four Monroe County races— county commissioner; sheriff; circuit court judge; and recorder.

Those are races that have contested primaries this year for the Democratic Party.

The winner of those races will face a Republican Party candidate in the fall. None of the four races are contested in the Republican Party’s primary. The B Square has included Republican candidates in this roundup, which is compiled in a shared Google Sheet, with links to individual filings.

[Shared Goog Sheet 2020 pre-primary]

The 17 candidates in the four races have raised a combined total of around $115,000.

Counting money raised last year, six candidates for sheriff have raised a combined total of $58,000. The five candidates for judge have raised a combined total of around $28,000. The three candidates for county commissioner have raised a combined total of around $22,300. And the three candidates for county recorder have raised a combined total of around $7,000.

A race that is not contested in the primary for either the Democrats or Republicans is for county councilor representing District 1. The November general election for District 1 is set up to be a contest between incumbent Democrat Peter Iversen and Republican James Allen. That’s a race not included in this campaign finance roundup.

Circuit court judge

In the four-way Democratic Primary race for judge, the Democratic Party candidates have raised amounts in the mid-to-upper single-digit thousands: Emily Salzmann ($8,154); Karen Wrenbeck ($7,672.68); Allison Chopra ($6,254.04); and April Wilson ($5,549.61).

Chopra’s total of funds raised for the current reporting period was reported as $6,854.04—based on the $5,732.04 subtotal in itemized contributions stated on the form then added to $1,122.00 in unitemized contributions on the form.

That means there’s a $600 difference between the subtotals reported on Chopra’s form and The B Square’s tally, which is based on adding up the itemized contributions. The $600 difference looks like it can be traced to a single sheet of itemized contributions.

The amounts on that page sum to $1,432.04 not the $2,032.04 recorded on that page of the filing. [$150.00 + $450.00 + $405.83 + $426.21]  It looks like the “1” in the hundreds place of the first amount might have been misread as a “7” when the arithmetic was done, which was by hand.

It looks like around 21 percent of Chopra’s campaign donations come from family members. Around 14 percent of Salzmann’s money comes from family members or out of her own pocket.

More than half of Wrenbeck’s contributions, 62 percent, have come from her family or out of her own pocket. Wilson’s campaign is mostly self-financed. Of the $5,549.61 Wilson has raised, about 73 percent has come out of her own pocket.

The filing for Carl Lamb, the Republican candidate for circuit court judge, shows no fundraising activity so far in 2022.

Monroe County sheriff

The totals raised in the sheriff’s race range from nothing (Democrat Joanie Stalcup) to around $19,500 for Democrat Ruben Marté. The figure for Marté includes the roughly $14,000 he raised in 2021, which is not included in the required itemized reporting for the most recent filing period.

The B Square’s tally of itemized contributions for Marté’s campaign differs by $45 from the amount recorded on Marté’s filing for the current period. The B Square has not been able to pin down the source of the difference.

Through April 8, the end of the reporting period, Marté had spent just $11,847 of his funds, leaving him with around $7,200. That could be spent between now and May 3, or on a general election campaign, if he were to win the Democratic Party’s primary.

In the sheriff’s race, the second highest fundraising amount so far has been by Troy Thomas. His filing indicates that he has spent $15,913.69 so far, which is $443.54 more than he has raised in donations.

Democrat Angie Purdie’s race for sheriff has generated $11,747.41 in contributions, and she has spent all but $1,118.02 of that amount.

Democrat Steve Hale’s filing indicates that he has received $4,971.27 in contributions. The amount listed for total expenditures on Hale’s filed form is $1,660.33—but that’s the same amount recorded for cash remaining on hand. The figure is more likely correct for the amount of cash still on hand.

Republican Nathan Williamson, who is unopposed in his party’s primary, has raised $6,526.45 and spent $5,169.46, leaving him with $1,386.99 cash on hand at the end of the reporting period.

In the sheriff’s race, the biggest itemized contributors so far are: Ken’s Westside Service to Troy Thomas’s campaign ($5,000); Andrew Lambert to Angie Purdie’s campaign ($4,745); Thomica Breeden to Nathan Williamson’s campaign ($4,500); Patrick Bohannon, to Troy Thomas’s campaign ($4,000); Angie Purdie to her own campaign ($2,290); and Indiana Fitness Club to Steve Hale’s campaign ($2,205).

Indiana Fitness Club is a sole proprietorship owned by Hale, according to his statement of economic interests filed with the election office.

At least as recently as 2015, Patrick Bohannon has been commanding officer of the Monroe County sheriff’s office reserve division.

Thomica Breeden is Nathan Williamson’s mother.

Lambert Consulting has a contract with the county commissioners for social media management.

In summer 2020, the county commissioner’s canceled a contract with Ken’s Westside Service to do maintenance on some of the county’s fleet vehicles. The reason for canceling the contract was remarks made by the owner’s son on social media about the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.

Monroe County commissioner

The two Democratic Party candidates for county commissioner have raised close to the same amount. Incumbent Democrat Lee Jones has raised $3,774 compared to Dominic Thompson’s $3,590.

Outpacing the two Democratic Party county commissioner candidates so far is Republican Party candidate Perry Robinson, with $14,970.

Thomas Park Clement is Robinson’s largest donor, with a $10,000 contribution. Robinson also has a $2,000 contribution from Miller Eads Company, which is Robinson’s employer.

The biggest donor for Lee Jones is the Democratic Women’s Caucus (DWC). The $1,500 from the DWC is about 40 percent of Jones’s total. Jones also received contributions from her colleagues on the board of county commissioners, Julie Thomas ($200) and Penny Githens ($300).

The biggest donor for Dominic Thompson is David Gamage, who donated $1,000 to Thompson’s campaign, about 28 percent of the total. Gamage is also serving as Thompson’s campaign treasurer. [Added at 10:40 a.m. on April 26, 2022: The information about Gamage’s service as Thompson’s treasurer is based a Feb. 20 announcement made on the Thompson campaign’s Facebook page.]

Last fall, when the friction between the county clerk and the county commissioners over election space allocations was at its height, Gamage told commissioners he would be opposing them in their primaries when they ran for reelection.

Among the financial contributors to Thompson’s campaign are two current elected officials—Jim Sims (Bloomington city councilmember) and April Hennessy (MCCSC school board).

Monroe County recorder

Of the four races that are contested in the Democratic Primary, the smallest combined amount raised so far is for the recorder’s race—about $7,000.

Democrat Amy Swain has raised $3,399. Democrat Ashley Cranor has raised $2,254. Republican Paul White has raised $1,309.

The B Square’s tally of itemized contributions for Amy Swain’s campaign differs by $146.05 from the amount recorded on Swain’s filing for the current period. The B Square has not been able to pin down the source of the difference.

About 75 percent of Amy Swain’s contributions come from her husband, Brad Swain’s campaign for state representative her own 2018 campaign for District 62 state representative.

All but $185 of Republican Paul White’s campaign contributions so far have come out of his own pocket.

Cranor filed an amended form on Monday (April 25), on which The B Squares compilation is based.

The campaigns for recorder feature contributions from four of the seven county councilors.

Contributions by city and county elected officials

In The B Square’s shared Google Sheet, which compiles the pre-primary election campaign finance filings, one of the tabs lays out contributions across all campaigns by donor.

From that tab, it’s possible to check contributions made by current elected officials to any of the candidates.

The filings made for the four races in this roundup show that Incumbent recorder Eric Schmitz has contributed to Ashley Cranor’s campaign for recorder. Cranor is currently Schmitz’s deputy.

Four current county councilors have made financial contributions in the recorder’s race. Cheryl Munson has contributed to Amy Swain’s campaign for recorder. Geoff McKim, Trent Deckard, and Kate Wiltz have contributed to Cranor’s campaign for recorder.

County councilor Kate Wiltz, together with her husband James Wiltz, also contributed to Angie Purdie’s campaign for sheriff. Purdie also received contributions from county commissioners Julie Thomas and Penny Githens, and county treasurer Jessica McClellan.

Ruben Marté’s campaign for sheriff got a contribution from county clerk Nicole Browne. In the sheriff’s race, three Bloomington city councilmembers made contributions. Dave Rollo and Ron Smith contributed to Ruben Marté’s campaign. Jim Sims contributed to Ruben Marté’s campaign as well as to Troy Thomas’s campaign.

Sims also contributed to Dominic Thompson’s campaign for county commissioner. School board member April Hennessey also contributed to Thompson’s campaign.

Contributing to their colleague, Lee Jones’s campaign for re-election to the county commissioner seat, were Penny Githens and Julie Thomas.

In the race for circuit court judge, county prosecutor Erika Oliphant contributed to April Wilson’s campaign.

[Shared Goog Sheet 2020 pre-primary]

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