by Jason M. Rodriguez
Republican challenger Ted Franklin has raised about twice as much money as Logansport Mayor Mike Fincher in the run up to next week’s election, according to the candidates and campaign finance reports filed with the county.
Franklin said he’s collected nearly $60,000 in donations — almost double what he raised in his 2007 bid for mayor. Democrat Fincher has raised about $29,000, well shy of his $40,000 mark in 2007.
Independent candidate Seger Mathew has raised $650, which includes $250 he loaned to his campaign.
“I think it sets a new standard, but I think it’s also indicative of the number of people who want change,” Franklin said.
Franklin had also spent about $15,000 more than Fincher from mid-April to mid-October, finance reports show.
Fincher was surprised at Franklin’s fundraising total.
“I am pretty shocked that he raised that kind of money in a community that needs the help in other areas,” Fincher said. “I’m surprised at that amount in a mayoral election.”
Franklin said when the incumbent had more donations than him in 2007, Fincher had a different opinion.
“Four years ago, Mike Fincher outraised me in the election and didn’t seem to have a problem with it,” he said.
Mathew said he was unaware of what his opponents raised, but he said he had declined many donations in exchange for spreading word about his campaign.
“Do you know how much good that can do in a town like this?” he said. “That type of money is life-changing to people around here. I’m showing that it could be done for less.”
Franklin’s campaign reported raising nearly $45,000 through Oct. 14 in its finance report. That total included about $8,000 the candidate loaned to the campaign.
Franklin said he’s raised nearly $15,000 in the two weeks since.
His leading financial donor is the Cass County Republican Central Committee, which has given $11,500, according to reports. The Logansport Firefighters Political Action Committee donated $2,500, while Cass County Prosecutor Kevin Enyeart gave $1,000 and Sheriff Randy Pryor gave $500. Both men are Republicans.
Democrat-turned-independent candidate Charlie Hastings donated $500, reports state. Hastings narrowly lost to Fincher in the Democratic primary this spring, then publicly endorsed Franklin.
Franklin has even earned state-level backing, with a $1,120 in-kind contribution from the Indiana Republican State Committee for including Franklin on a mailer.
Franklin said that support sent a message.
“People much smarter than me looked at this race, thought it was winnable and I think that they thought it was an investment that was worthy,” he said.
Fincher reported raising more than $27,000 from April 14 to Oct. 21, according to his campaign’s finance reports. That total includes more than $600 from the mayor.
The donations this period include $500 from former deputy mayor Linda Klinck, $750 from Bernie Mittica, Fincher’s appointed fire chief; and $400 from Greg Henneke, a consultant on the 18th Street corridor project. Fincher also received contributions of $250 from longtime city contractor Diechman Excavating, $900 from environmental consulting firm Bruce Carter and Associates, which has done work with Fincher’s administration; and $150 from architectural firm DLZ Indiana, which contracted with the city in 2008.
“Those contractors, every contractor there, went through a bid process, usually,” Fincher said. “I’m honored that ... those kind of people offer me money to stay in my position and do what is best for this city.”
Franklin also leads the way in spending, reporting more than $42,500 in expenditures. That includes $4,600 to a campaign consultant, $4,500 for a poll and nearly $12,000 on television ads, reports state.
Fincher reported more than $21,000 in expenses this period. That includes $6,121 on campaign consultations and more than $4,000 on radio ads.
Mathew said his expenditures include buying paint and plywood for campaign signs and $18 for a website domain name.
• Jason M. Rodriguez is news editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5117 or email@example.com.