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Ryan helped Sawyer with debt



Published: Thu, February 6, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Ryan was the only Mahoning Valley resident to contribute to the ex-congressman's campaign fund in seven months.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

AKRON -- U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan retired Thomas C. Sawyer as a congressman, and then helped the Akron Democrat retire his political debt.

Ryan, of Niles, defeated Sawyer, an eight-term congressman, in an upset during last May's Democratic primary for the 17th Congressional District seat. Ryan then won the general election.

Sawyer spent $529,372 on his failed attempt to retain his congressional seat, compared with $592,275 spent by Ryan for the primary and general elections.

Because of the money Sawyer spent during the primary, he was $35,553 in debt in May. He cut that deficit to $23,786 as of Oct. 16, and eliminated it by the end of last year, according to a campaign fund termination report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Had a fund-raiser

Sawyer, who held a fund-raiser in Akron Dec. 8 to get rid of his campaign debt, raised $29,676 during the final two months of last year.

Among his contributors was Ryan, who donated $1,000 on Dec. 5, three days before Sawyer's fund-raiser. Ryan did not attend that event.

The Ryan donation apparently came from the congressman's personal account, because there is no record of the contribution to Sawyer listed on Ryan's federal campaign year-end report filed with the FEC. Ryan was the only Mahoning Valley resident to contribute to Sawyer's campaign since the primary.

Ryan finished last year with $240 in his campaign treasury, and $5,708 in debt.

Pat Lowry, Ryan's spokesman, said he did not know why the congressman contributed money to Sawyer's campaign.

The relationship between Ryan and Sawyer was somewhat icy in the months after the primary. Sawyer had initially told Ryan he would introduce him to politicians and contributors in the Akron area, and then took his time doing so. Sawyer also took several months before publicly endorsing Ryan's candidacy late in the campaign.

New job

Sawyer was hired last month by Hiram College as a distinguished scholar in residence.

Other politicians contributing to Sawyer's campaign during the final two months of last year included U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown, state Sen. Leigh Herington, and Summit County, Akron and Kent city officials.

skolnick@vindy.com




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