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Campaigns in city cost $100,700

June 09, 2005|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - The amount spent by candidates in this year's City of Hagerstown elections is nearly triple that of the most-expensive city election in recent memory.

The candidates reported about $100,700 in spending between January and May 31, according to an analysis of campaign finance reports submitted by the candidates this week.

Of the previous three city elections, 1993 campaigns were the most expensive at about $34,700. The 2001 campaigns cost about $33,700 and 1997 campaign costs were $14,000, previous reports show.

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Tuesday was the final reporting deadline for this year's election. Many candidates showed there was no money left in their campaign accounts, while others showed anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars remaining.

The reports had not been audited by election officials Wednesday because they were away for a conference.

The reports showed that candidates spent their money on postage, banking, meals, and newspaper, television, radio and billboard advertising.

Despite heavy spending by many candidates, money alone didn't make the difference in this year's election.

While top-spending candidate Richard F. Trump won the mayoral contest, the other heavy-spending Republican candidates Trump ran with did not win their council races.

Trump spent $13,051 from his account, which included $6,000 in transfers from the Friends of Hagerstown PAC, according to the reports. The PAC, or political action committee, was established for the sole purpose of aiding the Republican slate of candidates, including Trump.

Trump also reported being the beneficiary of in-kind contributions, including $4,000 from the PAC. In-kind contributions are noncash contributions of things like services or equipment and are not counted in total campaign expenditures.

Trump beat incumbent William M. Breichner, who reported spending $7,419, and write-in candidate Robert E. Bruchey II, who spent $9,439. Bruchey was the city's mayor from 1997 to 2001. Neither Breichner nor Bruchey reported receiving any in-kind contributions.

The Republican slate council candidates - Ruth Anne Callaham, the Rev. Haru Carter Jr., Scott D. Hesse, Dan G. Kennedy and Tory VanReenen - together reported spending about $35,000 from their campaign chests, according to the reports.

The PAC also spent another $24,272 related to the slate members' campaigns.

The council candidates who won reported spending much less, partially because three of the candidates were not required to report any expenses.

Council members Lewis C. Metzner, Penny M. Nigh and Kristin B. Aleshire signed affidavits that they would not take in total contributions more than $1,000 and they would not spend more than $1,000.

Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer reported spending $7,134, much of which was her own money. Councilwoman Alesia D. Parson-McBean reported spending $1,771.

The only other candidate to report his finances did not make it to the May 17 election. N. Linn Hendershot lost his re-election bid in the March 8 primary. He spent $2,627, according to the reports.

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