HOUSE ELECTIONS Heiress spends early, often
Capri Cafaro continues to self-finance her political campaign.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- She doesn't hold a congressional seat and can't run for one until next year, but Capri Cafaro's political campaign spent more money during the first three months of this year than any U.S. House member who represents the Mahoning and Shenango valleys.
Through March 31, Cafaro, a millionaire shopping heiress, spent $91,314 as she prepares for a 2006 rematch with U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette, a Concord Republican who represents the 14th Congressional District.
Cafaro's most recent report filed with the Federal Election Commission for the first quarter shows she loaned $94,551 to her campaign preparing for the 2006 election, or 97 percent of her campaign's total revenue during that period.
Most of that money went to media and field consulting, for legal and accounting services, and to pay the salaries of 11 campaign staff members.
Cafaro had $7,630 on hand as of March 31. A Liberty native, she lists a Chagrin Falls address on her most recent FEC financial report.
LaTourette beat Cafaro, a Democrat, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin in last year's general election, the most expensive U.S. House race in Ohio.
During that campaign, Cafaro raised $1.98 million, including $1.74 million of her own money, spending nearly all of it. She also accumulated $2.05 million in debt, about half of it owed to herself.
LaTourette PAC money
LaTourette spent $2.35 million on his 2004 campaign. As he did during his previous five congressional runs, LaTourette didn't contribute any of his own money to last year's race.
During this year's first quarter, LaTourette raised $69,889, with $60,375 coming from 41 political action committees.
He spent $25,145 in the quarter, and had $57,672 in his war chest as of March 31, which includes money he raised but didn't spend during last year's race.
The 14th District includes all or parts of seven counties, including seven northern townships in Trumbull County.
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, raised $89,946 during the first three months of the year, and spent $62,985. Of the money Ryan raised, $52,946 came from individuals, and the rest from PACs.
Nearly all of the money given by individuals are prominent businessmen in the Mahoning Valley including Sam A. Covelli, Covelli Corp. president; lawyer Michael Harshman; Thomas M. Humphries, president of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber; Kevin McGuire, owner of MVI Homecare; Bruce Zoldan, B.J. Alan Co. president; and former Mahoning County Commissioner Edward Reese, owner of EDAN Management.
Ryan's major expenses were $21,848 to Fraioli and Associates, a Washington, D.C., company that serves as his campaign treasurer and fund-raising consultant; $9,028 to McMenamy's, a Niles company for catering services; $5,599 to the Washington Court Hotel in D.C. for catering; and $4,500 to Philip P. Guerra of Niles for accounting services.
The 17th District includes portions of Mahoning, Trumbull, Portage and Summit counties.
U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland of Lisbon, D-6th, had a relatively quiet first quarter. He raised $23,487, nearly all from PACs, and spent $11,657.
Strickland ran against only a write-in during last year's election, and because of a large carryover from 2004, his campaign coffers as of March 31 hold $456,041. That is the most among any member of Congress who represents the two valleys.
Strickland's 12-county district includes all of Columbiana and a portion of Mahoning.
In Pennsylvania, U.S. Rep. Melissa Hart of Bradford Woods, R-4th, raised $118,444, slightly more from PACs than individuals, during the first quarter. She spent $79,668 during that time. She represents portions of Mercer and Lawrence counties.
U.S. Rep. Phil English of Erie, R-3rd, raised $121,548, mostly from PACs, during the first quarter, spending $55,212. His district includes a portion of Mercer County.