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Commissioners' campaign treasuries as varied as the candidates

September 03, 2006|by TAMELA BAKER

You can spend a little or a lot to run for Washington County Commissioners, and among the throng running for the five commissioner seats this year are candidates in both categories.

Leading the pack in fundraising is John Barr, who has raised $27,225 for his commissioners race, according to a financial report filed in August with the Washington County Board of Elections.

That's almost as much as the rest of the commissioners candidates filing reports combined. Additional financial reports were due Friday.

Barr, a Republican and the owner of Ellsworth Electric Inc. in Hagerstown, has spent more than $15,000 on his campaign thus far, according to the report.

But about half of the candidates signed affidavits vowing not to spend more than $1,000 and did not have to file financial reports, elections officials said.

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Many of the others are financing their campaigns themselves through personal loans to their campaign funds. A handful, such as Republican Terry Baker and Democrat N. Linn Hendershot, have received donations from individuals or businesses.

Barr's finance report shows 111 contributions from individuals and businesses. Barr said this week that he's "overwhelmed" by the support, and believes it has come "in response to years of service and support to the community."

A fixture in Washington County community organizations, Barr was The Herald-Mail's Person of the Year for 2004.

Though he initially planned to finance his campaign himself, Barr said he was persuaded by campaign advisers that "people in the community wanted to help." Shortly after he announced his candidacy, he sent 475 fundraising letters to potential supporters. The result was a campaign treasury that nearly matches the $31,416 raised by the other candidates combined.

Running a distant second in the fundraising heat is Baker, with a little more than $6,000. Baker has spent more than half of his campaign funds, his report says.

Incumbent Republican John Munson reported receipts of $5,000 from two personal loans. He has spent most of it.

The rest reported campaign receipts of $4,000 or less.

Incumbent Doris J. Nipps is financing her own campaign with a $1,000 personal loan to her account. She has spent $283.

Incumbent James F. Kercheval has put $50 in his campaign account so far, and has spent none, his report says. Incumbent William J. Wivell was one of the 11 candidates declaring they would spend less than $1,000, as was former Commissioner Paul L. Swartz, a Democrat.

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