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Republican Statehouse contenders raced to primary in well-funded campaigns

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 12:01 am

Most of the competitors in Tuesday's contested primaries for General Assembly seats came to the fight raising tens of thousands of dollars each.

All those contested races in the Fort Wayne area were Republicans vying for the nomination in one senate district and three house districts.

Detailed financial breakdowns on the receipts, spending and contributors reflects the candidates' fundraising as of April 11. Several have reported large contributions since, but those have not been compiled into documents available from the Indiana Secretary of State's Office yet.

State Senate, District 15

State Sen. Tom Wyss isn't going back to his seat in the Legislature next year, and three well-known politicians and the owner of a midsized business are competing to become the Republican candidate for the office.

Each of the four reported contributions in the five figures by April 11.

Former Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Liz Brown led fundraising in that period with $60,027.28 raised and $48,575.54 on hand at the end of the reporting period. She and her husband, cardiologist Dr. Steve Brown, were her largest contributors, reporting $16,575.37. Businessman Bruce Dye contributed $16,000 and the Indiana Medical Political Action Committee contributed $4,044.33.

Second in fundraising in that race was Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries, who reported contributions of $51,419.32 this year through April 11, with $55,151.29 on hand. Business owner Richard Byers Jr. contributed $10,000. Timothy and Ann Borne contributed $5,000; Timothy Borne is chief executive officer of Asher Agency, a Fort Wayne public-relations and advertising firm.

Allen County Councilman Darren Vogt reported raising $43,382.20 in the reporting period, with $47,833.92 on hand at its close. His largest donor was D V Real Estate, a company of which he is the registered agent, at $10,000, and his wife, Jennifer Vogt, at $5,000.

Jeff Snyder, owner of Snyder Food Services, a vending and distribution company, reported contributions of $21,314.39 in the period, with $10,818.89 on hand at its close. His largest contributors were his own business and Strahm Group, at $2,000 each.

State House, District 83

Incumbent Kathy Heuer had raised more than twice as much as challenger Christopher Judy as of April 11. She reported contributions of $38,823.21 this year, with $17,970.44 on hand at the close of the reporting period. Judy reported raising $16,122.22 in the same period, with $3,355.58 on hand at its close.

Judy's top contributors were John F. Popp, president of Perfection Bakeries, who gave his campaign $5,500, and Judy himself, who contributed $1,750 to the campaign. Heuer's top contributors were the House Republican Campaign Committee, at $11,500; Indiana Business for Responsive Government, at $10,448.21; and Bosma's campaign committee, $5,000.

State House, District 84

Incumbent Bob Morris leads in this well-funded primary contest. His top contributor in the reporting period was Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma's campaign committee, with $12,255 reported in polling costs. Popp, who has bankrolled many conservative candidates and causes in the region, contributed $5,000. In total, Morris reported $38,855 in contributions during the reporting period, with $46,141.69 on hand at its close.

His challenger, attorney Michael Barranda, reported $28,357.48 in contributions this year by April 11, with $33,474.70 on hand at that time. The largest contributions reported came from Fort Wayne City Councilman John Crawford, at $3,500; Crawford's wife, Marcia Mitson, at $3,000; and $1,507.01 from Burt, Blee, Dixon, Sutton & Bloom, Barranda's law firm.

State House, District 85

There are three Republicans on the ballot for the House seat held by Phyllis Pond, who died last year, but there's only one candidate in the race for money, according to state figures.

Casey Cox, who was chosen by a caucus of precinct committee members to fill Pond's seat, reported total contributions of $30,621.96 this year, as of early April. He had $23,107.11 on hand in early April.

His opponent Ken Knoblauch reported that he had raised no funds by that point and had spent nothing, either. Denny Worman reported that he had raised $100 and still had that much on hand early last month.

The largest contribution this year to the Cox primary campaign came from Bosma's campaign committee, which gave him $5,000. Many of his largest contributors were the campaign committees of other politicians, business owners and economic-development advocates.