RELATED: CAMPAIGN FINANCE PRE-PRIMARY REPORTS
By David Skolnick
In the hotly contested and contentious Mahoning County prosecutor’s Democratic primary, incumbent Paul J. Gains raised and spent more money during the first month and a half of the year than his challenger.
Gains collected $58,220 from contributors compared with $48,334 for Youngstown Prosecutor Jay Macejko, his March 6 primary opponent, between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15, according to pre-primary campaign finance reports filed by Thursday’s deadline at the county board of elections.
Macejko and his wife also gave a $4,083 loan to the campaign last month.
During that same time period, Gains spent $47,393 and Macejko spent $41,139.
In both cases, much of the money went to pay for television commercials, yard signs, campaign mail and expenses related to fundraisers, according to his finance report.
Gains also spent $1,650 on a poll.
During the last six months of 2011, Macejko received $31,168 in contributions, and loaned $10,114 to his campaign.
Gains raised $32,131 in contributions during the second half of 2011. He already had $34,020 in his campaign fund as of July 31, 2011.
As of Feb. 15, Gains had $59,061 in his campaign fund compared to $32,146 for Macejko.
Macejko, like other candidates endorsed by the county Democratic Party, paid an assessment to the party to help fund a coordinated campaign.
Except for Macejko, Joyce Kale-Pesta, the endorsed candidate for state central committeewoman, and Jerry Greene, the endorsed candidate for county sheriff, the others gave $2,000 each to the party.
Macejko gave $1,500; Kale-Pesta, $1,000; and Greene, $3,000.
County Recorder Noralynn Palermo, running unopposed in the primary, had to loan $1,950 to her campaign to cover her assessment.
County Treasurer Daniel Yemma, also running unopposed, borrowed $2,000 from his son to pay his assessment.
In the Democratic sheriff primary, Greene continues to raise more money than his two opponents.
Greene received $30,555 in contributions between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15. That’s on top of the $106,720 he raised in the latter half of 2011.
In comparison, Poland Township Police Chief Brian Goodin, who had $1,700 in contributions last year, received $27,854 from donors between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15.
Former Youngstown Police Chief Jimmy Hughes is running a largely self-funded campaign. As of Feb. 15, Hughes had received only $2,185 from donors. He’s loaned $46,000 to his campaign, including $28,000 during the pre-primary reporting period.
When it comes to money, the race to replace outgoing county Commissioner John McNally IV is a two-man race.
Austintown Trustee David Ditzler, the party’s endorsed candidate, raised $46,575 between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15. He also has $24,200 in loans owed to his campaign.
In comparison, Walter Pishkur raised $21,125 between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15. Pishkur loaned his campaign $50,000 late last year.
The only Trumbull countywide race in the Democratic primary — between incumbent Trumbull County Sheriff Thomas Altiere and his former chief of detectives, Jim Phillips — is also the most costly race.
Altiere, who has been sheriff 18 years and says this will be his last term, spent $3,461 between Jan. 1 and Feb. 15 and raised nothing. Phillips spent $34,836 and raised $8,800. He also contributed $25,000 of his own money.
Contributor: Ed Runyan, staff writer.