Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bought And Paid For?

One of the minor mysteries of last month's local primary is a little closer to being solved, as also-ran supervisor candidate Diane Dunlap filed her post-election campaign finance report.

Dunlap got into the race on the last day to file and ran a low-profile campaign with no mailings or ads. She had only two donors on the May 19 report, and $290 worth of yard signs that she paid for out of pocket.

The new report shows two donations of $200 each from Jim Glasgow, a leader and major donor to several candidates over the years who have opposed development on Newport Road including the late Democrat Larry Meyers, Republican John Etheredge, and in the most recent primary Democrat Mike Carberry. One donation was on May 21, just after the deadline for the previous report. The other was on June 8, five days AFTER the June 3 primary where Dunlap finished a very distant fourth and last.

Glasgow and others on Newport Road had vowed to defeat incumbent Janelle Rettig after the Board voted 4-1, with a just sworn in Etheredge as the no, to rezone the Dooley property in March 2013. That didn't work out, as Rettig finished in a strong first place.

The Newport group backed Mike Carberry, who narrowly claimed the second Democratic nomination, over the third serious candidate, Lisa Green-Douglass. Indications that the group's second choice was Dunlap didn't show up until the last days before the election.

The report also shows that Dunlap reimbursed herself the $290 for yard signs on July 6, and filed the report the next day. It also shows $185 still in the bank. She's the only primary candidate to file so far; reports aren't due till July 19.

Significant donations to defeated candidates are not unheard of, but they're unusual, especially when the candidate finishes closer to the scattered write-in total than to the next candidate, in a race for two Democratic nominations:
Janelle Rettig 4523 (60%)
Mike Carberry 3459 (46%)
Lisa Green-Douglass 3333 (44%)
Diane Dunlap 1319 (17%)
Write in 76
Dunlap even finished last in Newport Township, where Carberry won yet Rettig finished a strong second.

$400 isn't a lot of money, and it wasn't a lot of votes either. But Dunlap's slim share was more than ten times Carberry's margin over Green-Douglass, so she definitely impacted the race.

Single issue Newport Road voters are likely to back Democrat Carberry and Republican Etheredge in the race for two seats this November, but based on Dunlap's primary totals, that's maybe 50 people.

And Etheredge, who won his seat in a low turnout special election, starts out several thousand votes behind just on straight tickets in heavily Democratic Johnson County. In Democratic wave year 2006, there were 6644 more straight Democratic tickets than Republican. 2010 was the counter-wave but Johnson County Democrats still had a 5559 straight ticket edge.

Republicans don't yet have a second candidate. Carberry, for his part, recently called for voters to support a straight Democratic ticket (so have I).

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