Mayor’s campaign contributions top $45K

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GREENFIELD — Mayor Chuck Fewell has received the most campaign contributions in 2019, more than double the amount of money collected by all other candidates across the county, according to campaign finance documents submitted last week to the county election office.

Candidates had until Oct. 18 to turn in campaign finance reports for pre-election contributions and expenditures ahead of the Nov. 5 election. Seventeen contenders, in contested and uncontested races throughout Hancock County, collected a total of $65,026 year to date. Only six of those candidates raised money since the primary’s reporting period, amounting to about half of all total contributions.

The campaign committee for Fewell, who’s been mayor since late 2013, had $45,640 in 2019, which included $14,454 cash on hand after the primary. His top contributors include engineering firms, companies Fewell worked with as mayor or in his former career as the government affairs director for the Heritage Group, Milestone Contractors, U.S. Aggregate and Asphalt Materials.

Rachel Doba, president of Indianapolis-based DB Engineering, gave Fewell $2,500; MS Consultants Inc., of Columbus, Ohio, contributed $1,000; and Commonwealth Engineers gave $2,500. Commonwealth, based in Indianapolis, is a consultant for the Greenfield Wastewater Department. Fewell said he also worked with Commonwealth during his time with Milestone Contractors.

Fewell also received several local contributions, which he calls the “backbone” of his campaign. Michael Burrow, president and CEO of NineStar Connect; and David Spencer, director of marketing for NineStar, each gave $200. The campaign committee for Dan Riley, president of the Greenfield City Council, contributed $200, and Brand & Morelock, the law firm that represents the city of Greenfield, gave $500.

Fewell received a $2,687 in-kind contribution from Lincoln Square Pancake House for a fundraiser dinner he hosted. He said 90 to 100 people attended. Fewell, who often visits the restaurant, also spent $870 from his campaign funds on the waitress staff. He also received a $1,262 in-kind contribution from Wine & Spirits Distributors of Indiana for liquor. Fewell said friends threw him a campaign event in downtown Indianapolis and supplied drinks.

Year to date, Fewell’s committee has spent $14,029. Several thousand dollars’ worth of campaign contributions were donated to local charities and organizations, such as the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen, Hancock Health Foundation, Zoey’s Place and the Hancock Hope House. Fewell said it’s important for a mayor to be well-known in the community, and giving money to local charities is a way for him to give back.

Fewell’s opponent in the Nov. 5 election, Democrat Zachary LaFavers, didn’t file a campaign finance report, according to county election officials.

Of the seven eligible city council candidates running for office — all are unopposed or running against ineligible candidates — only two received campaign contributions since the May primary. George Plisinski received $2,735, which includes $200 from Riley; and Jeff Lowder received $100.

In Hancock County’s town races, candidates running for New Palestine Town Council have to open a campaign committee, but those running for Fortville Town Council don’t, county election officials said. New Palestine council members earn more than $5,000 annually — the salary threshold according to state election rules. Fortville town council members make less than $5,000 a year.

Any candidate, however, can create a campaign committee, but those who earn less than $5,000 in salary aren’t required to unless they receive more than $500 in contributions, according to the state.

Brandee Bastin, a Republican running for re-election on the New Palestine Town Council, was the only candidate of the four on the ballot who listed campaign contributions — $199 — for 2019. In Fortville, Justin Crawford, an Independent, self-funded his campaign for $343, and Republican Tonya Davis also self-funded her campaign, adding up to $660 year to date.

Two Democrats who filed for Greenfield City Council have since moved out of the city, making them ineligible for the election — Chris Beushausen and Laura Latimer. Neither filed finance reports. Beushausen didn’t turn in the paperwork by last week’s deadline, and Latimer never opened a finance committee, according to election officials.

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The following candidates from Hancock County running for office in the 2019 election turned in campaign finance reports by noon Oct. 18. The contribution amounts, year to date, include the campaign committee’s cash on hand from past elections.

Chuck Fewell — $45,640.14

Dan Riley — $6,193.37

Kerry Grass — $4,886.10

George Plisinski — $2,735.28

Mitch Pendlum — $2,552.88

Gary McDaniel — $2,155.37

John Jester — $1,545

Tonya Davis — $660.51

Lori Elmore — $517.87

Justin Crawford — $343.44

Brandee Bastin — $199.51

Jeff Lowder — $100

Missy Glazier — $50

Jan Jarson — $0

Bill Niemier — $0

Angela Fahrnow — $0

Tonii Pyle — $0

TOTAL: $65,026.59

Source: Hancock County Election Office

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