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Jo Ellen Litz leads pack in campaign spending

Written by John Latimer, Lebanon Daily News | May 18, 2015 2:00 PM
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(Lebanon) -- Lebanon County commissioner Jo Ellen Litz has spent the most on her reelection campaign of the four Democratic candidates seeking two party nominations in Tuesday Primary Election, according to finance reports filed last week.

Litz, who is seeking a fifth term as a commissioner, has spent $6,300 on her campaign through May 4. The majority of the money has been spent on mailers and has all been provided by Litz. Her campaign finance report showed a zero balance.

Not far behind Litz in spending is former Lebanon County Democratic Committee chairman Chris Tarsa. Tarsa has spent nearly $4,500 on his campaign through May 4. But he has a balance remaining of more than $11,500.

Tarsa, the president of a family-owned surgical blade company, has so far contributed $5,800 to his campaign. His father, Leon Tarsa, who is serving as his campaign treasurer, donated another $2,570.

Kathy Pflueger, a retired county fiscal coordinator, has raised more than $3,600 for her campaign through May 4 but had spent $54 of it. Her contributors include the AFL-CIO labor union political action committee, which gave her $1,000. So far, Pflueger has invested $500 of her own money.

Ralph Duquette, a Palmyra school board member also seeking the nomination, did not raise or spend above the $250 threshold and waived the filing of a campaign finance report, according to the Lebanon County Voter Registration Office.

On the Republican side of the ballot, incumbent commissioners Bob Phillips and Bill Ames are running unopposed. They have, however, continued to raise money, in preparation for the fall election.

Their campaign, Friends of Bob Phillips & Bill Ames, filed a campaign finance report listing nearly $2,500 this year, which was added to the nearly $3,900 brought forward from 2014. The campaign spent $615 through May 4, leaving it with more than $5,700 heading into the general election.

The Republican candidates for the county's row offices are running unopposed but have all spent money on their campaigns, most of it in the form of contributions to the Lebanon County Republican Committee. They include Coroner Jeffrey Yocum, who has spent $1,000 of his own money; Treasurer Sallie Neuin, who has spent nearly $1,200; and Controller Robert Mettley, who has spent $1,225.

Recorder of Deeds Donna Lutz and Prothonotary/Clerk of Courts Barb Smith did not file a campaign finance reports, but both contributed to the Lebanon County Republican Committee. Smith, who was appointed to the position in October, contributed $500, and Lutz contributed $1,000.

The Republican and Democratic committees have also been busy raising funds.

The Lebanon County Republican Committee brought forward about $18,500 from 2014 and has raised more than $21,000 in contributions. Through May 4, the local Republican committee has spent about $8,500, leaving it with a balance of more than $31,000.

The Lebanon County Democratic Committee brought forward nearly $4,400 from 2014 and has raised just shy of $10,900 through May 4. So far, it has spent $9,700 through May 4, leaving it with a balance of about $5,500.

Another race that has attracted significant spending is the magisterial district judge race between incumbent Michael Smith and Lebanon attorney John Ditzler.

Ditzler has contributed $4,000 to his campaign, which has raised a total of nearly $5,500. Through May 4, he had spent $1,000, leaving him more than $4,000 to spend in the final weeks of the race.

Smith has spent $3,600 of his own money and is the lone contributor to his campaign. His campaign finance report had a zero balance.

Two Democrats running for Lebanon City Council in an uncontested primary race have raised significant dollars in preparation for the fall.

Cornell Wilson has raised more than $5,500, with support from labor union PACs representing the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, and Plumbers and Pipefitters. He also received a $100 contribution from PA Citizens for Equality and $250 from the campaign committee of former congressional candidate Manan Trivedi. So far his campaign has spent about $1,000 through May 4.

Cesar F. Liriano brought forward $200 from his unsuccessful 2013 City Council campaign and has added nearly $1,500 in contributions. Through May 4, he has spent $400, including $200 for 48 spots on community cable channel 15.

Other candidates filing finance reports for municipal and school board campaigns that are largely self-funded through May 4 include:

  • Ann Gruber, a Republican candidate for Jackson Township supervisor, who has spent about $700;
  • Rugh Henderson, a Republican candidate for South Londonderry Township supervisor, who has spent about $300;
  • Richard Miller, a Republican candidate for Northern Lebanon Township supervisor, who has spent about $500;
  • Margarita Rivera, a Democratic write-in candidate for magisterial district judge, who has spent about $250;
  • Richard Sidle, a candidate for Swatara Township Supervisor, who has spent about $300;
  • And Ellen Wargo, a Republican candidate for Palmyra school director, who has spent about $270.

This article comes to us through a partnership between Lebanon Daily News and WITF. 

Published in Lebanon, News

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