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CAMPAIGN 2002 Sawyer's war chest far outpaces rivals'



Published: Wed, April 17, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant raised $1,940 during the first three months of this year.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- U.S. Rep. Thomas C. Sawyer, an Akron Democrat running for the 17th Congressional District seat, has more money in his campaign war chest than all the other candidates in the race combined.

And none of Sawyer's money came from the Mahoning Valley.

Sawyer raised $125,314 during the first three months of the year, $94,000 of it provided by political action committees, according to his campaign finance disclosure report filed with the Federal Election Commission. Sawyer had $120,902 in campaign funds going into 2001.

During the first three months of this year, Sawyer spent $84,794 on his campaign, including $49,605 to Burges and Burges, a Cleveland-based political consulting firm.

Sawyer's $161,422 balance exceeds the balance of his nearest competitor, state Sen. Timothy J. Ryan of Niles, by more than $100,000.

Of the $66,050 raised during the first quarter of this year by Ryan, $50,000 of it came from the candidate. Ryan, a Democrat, received $8,250 from PACs and $7,800 from individuals, all of whom live in the Mahoning Valley.

Little for Traficant

The number of contributions to U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. of Poland, who was convicted last week of 10 felony counts and is planning an independent run, continues to be small.

Traficant raised $11,140 during the latter half of 2001, among the lowest of any Ohio incumbent congressmen. It was even worse during the first three months of 2002, when he raised $1,940. None of Traficant's contributors were from the Valley.

Traficant received $1,000 from Charlie Rose of Marshall, Va., whose occupation is not listed on the congressman's report; $300 from Barbara Conner, a retired woman from Houston; $100 from Hal Timberlake of Atwater, a business owner; and $400 from the Great Lakes Sugar Beet Growers Association of Saginaw, Mich.

Traficant also continues to spend considerably more money than he is taking in.

Traficant spent $8,622 during the first three months of this year. Most of the expenses were for meals, campaign materials, flowers and cellular telephone bills.

Two other Democratic candidates -- state Rep. Anthony A. Latell Jr. of Girard and Maridee Costanzo of Warren -- received no contributions from PACs.

Latell raised $26,881 during the first three months of the year, $14,581 of it coming from a loan he gave to his campaign. Latell spent $23,987 during the first quarter of the year, most of it going to Rubenstein and Associates, a Liberty company, for television time, campaign signs, brochures and bumper stickers.

Costanzo raised $8,697 during the first three months of the year, $1,430 of it coming from a loan she gave to her campaign. Costanzo is the only Democratic candidate from the Valley to raise money from individuals who live outside the area.

Lone Republican

State Rep. Ann Womer Benjamin of Aurora, the lone Republican in the race, raised $15,400 during the first quarter of the year, including $14,000 from PACs and a $1,000 loan she gave her campaign.

The new 17th Congressional District will include portions of Trumbull, Mahoning, Portage and Summit counties.

U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, a Lucasville Democrat seeking the 6th Congressional District seat, has more money in his campaign account than every candidate in the 17th District combined.

Strickland is the only candidate running for the 6th District seat to file a campaign fund report with the Federal Election Commission.

Strickland raised $45,588 during the first three months of the year. Atty. Michael Harshman, who donated $1,000 to Strickland, is the only Valley resident to contribute to the congressman's campaign. Most of Strickland's money, $38,100, this quarter, came from PACs.

Strickland, who had $577,611 coming into 2002, spent $19,019 during the first three months of the year, leaving his campaign war chest with a $604,180 balance.




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