Friday, October 22, 2004

Campaign cash reports filed

Best's loan puts him in lead for Butler County race

By John Kiesewetter
Enquirer staff writer

Election 2004 page
Independent J. Michael Best has amassed $55,435 for his bid to unseat Butler County Commissioner Michael A. Fox - but most of it came from his own pocket.

Campaign finance reports filed Thursday showed that Best, a Republican running as an independent, has loaned his campaign $51,400 in the three-way race against Fox and Democrat Catherine Stoker of West Chester Township. He has spent $31,091.

Fox, who was denied Republican Party endorsement after blasting county judges last year, has spent $43,392. Stoker, who lost to Commissioner Chuck Furmon four years ago, reported expenditures of $25,949.

Fox's campaign reports showed that $42,790 - more than half of his $83,185 in donations - came from outside Butler County.

The largest contributors to Stoker's $31,436 campaign were the Butler County Democratic Party ($7,400) and the United Food & Commercial Workers Union in Washington ($2,500).

In the other commission races, Republican incumbents Greg Jolivette and Furmon have huge financial edges. Jolivette has spent $36,511 compared to $2,813 by Democrat Rusty Thomas. Furmon has spent $22,854, while Democrat James Lubbers reported no expenses.

Butler County's biggest spender has been Ohio House member Gary Cates, R-West Chester Township. In his race for Ohio's 4th Senate seat, Cates has spent $85,428 - nearly 10 times his opponent, Democrat Melvin A. Smith of Hanover Township.

Chief Deputy Sheriff Rick Jones, seeking to replace retiring Sheriff Harold "Don" Gabbard, reported spending close to $70,000. His opponent, Springboro Police Officer Dale Richter, has spent $27,706 after loaning his committee $39,500.

In Warren County, county commission candidate David G. Young of Deerfield Township has spent $11,321 for an open seat. He faces opposition from write-in candidate Jack Chrisman of Lebanon.

In the race for Warren County Court judge, Jay Revelson of Maineville reported $14,430 in expenditures, and a balance of $4,769. Donald Oda of Springboro spent $4,516 - but he has $19,953 left for the final days of the campaign.

Long-time Sheriff Tom Ariss held a slight spending edge over challenger R. Heath Kilburn, $5,350 to $3,412. But Ariss reported a balance of $14,736, while Kilburn had $2,019 remaining.

Dave Eck contributed to this story. E-mail

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