By JEFF SCHULTZ
Four months after the 2010 Porter County General Elections, the county’s
political party committees revealed their total contribution and expense
amounts for the year including the final days leading up to the election.
Committees were required by statute to report their figures up to Dec. 31 of
last year to the county voter registration office.
The county’s Republican groups who were overwhelming successful in winning
nearly every available office, what some referred to as “the Republican
Tsunami,” collected far more in contributions than their Democrat
The Porter County Republican Central Committee reported a total of
$66,536.28 in contributions and receipts during the report period of Oct. 9
through Dec. 31 and $94,806.32 for a year-end total.
The GOP got a big push from local corporations and campaign committees
during the reporting period. Valparaiso law firm Blachly, Tabor, Bozik and
Hartman gave $1,500 to the committee while Eastgate Investments II UC, Sound
Construction Comp., and Steiner Homes Ltd., all of Valparaiso, gave $1,000
The Committee to Elect H. Jonathan Costas dished out $2,000 while the
Committee to Elect Ralph A. Levi for Sheriff gave $1,400.
Former GOP Chairman Charles Williams also provided an in-kind donation of
$20,099.35 to pay off existing debt for the committee regarding use of his
office building at 212 Lincolnway in Valparaiso for the party’s headquarters
in 2008. Williams reported the amount as a loan in 2008 when the state party
could no longer issue funds from license plate money that had been used to
cover the lease.
Reporting an even bigger total is the Valparaiso Republicans who were
responsible for mailing out advertisements attacking county commissioner
Democratic candidate and incumbent Robert Harper. While the county GOP took
in less than the six-figure mark, the Valparaiso GOP surpassed it reporting
$111,164 for the year total, with $42,100 for the Oct. 9 - Dec. 31 reporting
The group’s top individual donors during that reporting period were Matthew
Gariup and Bruce Boyer of Munster, both with $5,000 donations. Other top
donors included: Willis Conner of Indianapolis ($4,000), James Kovacs of
Indianapolis ($3,000), Martin Knowles of Indianapolis ($3,000) Harley Snider
of Valparaiso ($2,500), Robert Meeder of Pittsburgh, Pa. ($1,000).
The financial disclosure forms also showed the Valparaiso Republicans
received donations from the following businesses (giving $1,000 or more):
Wheeler Trail in Chicago ($2,000), EG Marshall in Valparaiso ($2,000), Smith
Ready Mix in Valparaiso ($1,500), Royal Brush MFG in Munster ($1,000), and
Grieger Motor Sales in Valparaiso ($1,000).
From local campaigns, the Valparaiso Republicans got support from the
Committee to Elect Ralph Ayers which gave a $5,000 donation and $1,000 from
the Conover For Trustee group.
The remaining GOP group, The Duneland Republicans, also reported their
figures at last Tuesday’s deadline with a total of $11,995.
Top individual backers include: Kenard Taylor of Valparaiso ($1,000) Ken
Blaney of Valparaiso ($1,000), James Ruge of Beverly Shores ($250), Larry
Lowlsen of Chesterton ($250), Arnold Gough of Chesterton ($250), Gary K.
Fish of Edwardsburg, Mich. ($250), and Robert Walsh of Chesterton ($250).
Businesses giving to the Duneland GOP were: T&P Development in Chesterton
($1,000), MGM Enterprises in Chesterton ($250), Servstall Inc. in
Merrillville ($250), and Karavan Restaurants in Chesterton ($100).
The county Democrats collected only half the campaign donations their
opponents did according to their reports filed during the mid-term
The Porter County Democratic Central Committee reported $32,601 in
contributions and receipts for the reporting period and $52,231.04 for the
County Democrat Party Chairperson Jeff Chidester said the Republicans
generally outmatch his figures due to the nature of GOP contributors who are
made up of lawyers, businesspeople, and investors. Chidester also pointed
out the Republicans have many out-of-state contributors while he prefers to
see his donations coming from within the county.
The county Democrats received help from the following groups, committees,
and businesses: Rhame & Elwood law firm ($500), Visclosky for Congress
($2,500), Committee to Re-Elect Judge Julia Jent ($2,268), Citizens for
Chuck (Moseley) Committee ($500), Committee to Elect Jeremy Rivas ($500),
Friends of Charlie Brown ($500), Olga for Mayor Committee ($500), Tallian
for Senate Campaign Committee ($500), Committee to Elect Millie Arocho
($408), and the Committee to Elect Thomas W. Webber ($303),.
Organizations giving to the Democrats were Iron Workers Local 395 IPAC in
Hammond ($1,000), Local 6787 Political Education and Legislative Fund in
Chesterton ($900), and IBEW Educational Committee ($500).
The First District Democrat Central Committee, which also includes Lake and
Jasper counties, were given a boost from the following organizations: IBEW
21 in Downers Grove, Ill. ($500) and Laborer’s Local 81 in Valparaiso