County election board releases primary financials
By Jane Beathard
As expected, the two top finishers in last month’s Republican primary for Madison County commissioner spent the most on their campaigns, according to preliminary paperwork filed with the county board of elections.
Incumbent commissioner Paul Gross, who won the hard-fought contest, spent at least $33,997 and earned 2,266 votes. Mike Boerger spent a minimum of $21,912 and gathered 1,637 votes. Ben Yoder finished third with 1,563 votes and spent at least $7,824.
The commissioner’s job pays $44,421 annually.
Final figures are, as yet, unclear since some of the reports require amendments or clarifications, according to Matthew Tlachac, assistant director of the election board.
Some bills remained outstanding in early April.
However, a glance of the pre– and post–campaign reports showed all three campaigns were largely self or family funded.
Gross’ largest contributor was his wife, Kirsten, who added $30,657 to his war chest.
Boerger supported his own effort with $18,750. As the endorsed Republican candidate, he also received $2,000 in county party money.
Yoder and his wife, Jane, spent $3,813 of their own money and received an additional $1,250 from other family members.
Other individuals and businesses contributed smaller amounts to each campaign.
Gross gathered the most diverse support with funding from more than a dozen people and organizations, including U.S. Rep. Steve Austria and state Rep. Ross McGregor, who chipped in $500 each. Gross also received $1,200 from the Buckeye Patriot Political Action Committee (PAC).
Printers, commercial mailing companies and public relations firms benefited the most from the contest. Gross spent about $23,875 on a series of mailers, as well as yard signs. Boerger spent $18,916, while Yoder shelled out $3,173 for publicity items.
Gross hosted several meetings and community forums in London and surrounding villages. Snacks and meals for those events cost $1,399. He also spent $3,579 on a television commercial and $4,200 on surveying and phoning county voters.
County newspapers, including The Madison Press, enjoyed an advertising windfall from the campaign. Gross bought at least $1,332 in newspaper ads. Boerger bought at least $1,856 and Yoder purchased $1,207 in advertising to support their campaigns.
The recent primary was more expensive than the most previous countywide contest for commissioner. Election board figures showed three candidates in the 2010 Republican primary spent a total of $35,090. Boerger, a challenger that year, spent $21,687. Eric Schooley spent $2,775. Incumbent Dave Dhume, winner of the race, spent $10,628.
However, $2,000 of Dhume’s total was in-kind advertising contributed by the now-defunct Our Community newspaper.