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Mayor's Race 2019

Mayor's Race 2019

Postby Happy Mom » Sun Apr 28, 2019 2:32 pm

Two candidates for South Bend mayor outpace the field in campaign fundraising
By Jeff Parrott South Bend Tribune Apr 23, 2019


mayor candidates
Top, from left: James Mueller, Oliver Davis, Jason Critchlow, Regina Williams-Preston. Bottom, from left: Richard Wright, Lynn Coleman, Shane Inez, Salvador Rodriguez.

South Bend voters will see eight names on the Democratic ballot for mayor in the May 7 Primary Election, but two candidates have stood out from the pack in raising money for their campaigns.

James Mueller outpaced the field by a hefty margin, raising nearly $245,000 between Jan. 1 and April 12, according to campaign finance reports that candidates were required to file by Monday. That was followed by Jason Critchlow’s $139,000.

Critchlow’s campaign spent slightly more than Mueller’s, about $98,000 compared to $91,000 spent by Mueller — meaning Mueller was left with about $153,000 cash on hand, compared to Critchlow’s $40,000, entering the campaign’s final weeks.

Other candidates trailed in terms of fundraising: Lynn Coleman reported raising more than $19,000, with nearly $11,000 of that coming as a transfer from his failed congressional campaign in 2016. Regina Williams-Preston raised about $16,600, while Oliver Davis raised about $15,300.

Mueller said his fundraising lead shows that “we’re getting our message out.”

“I didn’t have a lot of name ID and hadn’t ever run for public office before this,” Mueller said. “I’m proud to have a lot of support from folks who realize this is a critical moment in our history and we need to keep building on the progress.”

Mueller said Critchlow has outspent him on TV ads “but we should be able to catch up these last couple of weeks. But we have a broader media strategy. We’ve been doing more mailers and digital” ads.

Critchlow wasn’t available for comment Monday because he was at Dyngus Day events, but he is pleased with how his fundraising and overall race have gone, said his campaign manager, Sheri Miller Story.

“It doesn’t surprise us,” Story said of the finance reports. “We came into this race knowing we were the financial underdog. James has the advantage of an incumbent mayor’s endorsement, and therefore that mayor’s network of donors.”

Indeed, Mueller, the city’s executive director of community investment, received a big boost from his childhood friend and boss, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

“Pete for South Bend,” a holdover from Buttigieg’s mayoral and Democratic National Committee chair campaigns, gave Mueller’s campaign $54,500 — $50,000 cash and $4,500 worth of polling service.

Three people each gave Mueller $5,000: Michael Browning, chairman of Indianapolis-based Browning Investments; Bob Urbanski, retired South Bend businessman and longtime local Democratic Party funder; and Chris Murphy, 1st Source Bank chairman and CEO. Other relatively large contributions came from Luis Montestruque, president of EmNet, who gave $3,500. EmNet is the company that developed the city’s “smart sewer” technology.

Mueller also received a combined $6,000 in individual contributions from executives at American Structurepoint, the Indianapolis-based engineering firm contracted by the city for the Buttigieg administration’s downtown Smart Streets project. The company’s political action committee also gave Critchlow $1,500.

The reports show Critchlow spent $35,000 on “media,” while Mueller spent $31,000 on “TV and mail.” Critchlow’s other significant expenditures included $17,400 to Normington, Petts & Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based polling and campaign strategy consultant; and $5,100 to The Pivot Group, a Washington-based direct mail consultant.

Critchlow, formerly the county’s Democratic Party chair, received about $14,500, combined from four political action committees by organized labor: the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, United Amalgamated Pipefitters, Northern Indiana Operators Joint Labor-Management and Indiana State Ironworkers.

Critchlow’s biggest individual contribution came from Ken and Sharon Cichowicz, county residents who gave his campaign about $11,500. They are the parents of Jason Cichowicz, who was elected St. Joseph County Probate Judge with Critchlow’s help as county party chair. Ken and Critchlow’s father, Mike Critchlow, were childhood friends who grew up on the city’s west side, Story said.

Critchlow also received $7,000 from attorney Catherine Fanello, a county election board member and former city controller, and $3,000 from County Treasurer Mike Kruk.

Coleman said he would like to have raised more money but “money doesn’t vote, people vote.”

“Fundraising is not a high priority for me,” said Coleman. “A high priority for me is connecting with voters, finding out their problems and coming up with solutions. We’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way, getting out and meeting people.”

Williams-Preston received $10,150 in cash contributions, with the largest, $5,000, coming from her uncle, Isaac Williams, followed by $1,000 from Consuela’s Accounting and Tax Services.

Davis raised about $8,400 in cash, with his biggest contribution coming from David and Pam Andre, who combined to give $1,250. Davis lent his campaign about $5,700 of his own money.

Three other candidates on the ballot, Shane Inez, Salvador Rodriguez and Richard Wright, reported raising no money. ... b203-1b1ab
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Re: Mayor's Race 2019

Postby Happy Mom » Sun Apr 28, 2019 2:38 pm

Where are the voters? New mayor of South Bend could be decided by small numbers
By Jeff Parrott South Bend Tribune 8 hrs ago

A lone voter casts a ballot during early voting Friday at the County-City Building in downtown South Bend.

SOUTH BEND — Without a strong Republican opponent in the November 2011 election — in a city that has had Democratic mayors for decades — Pete Buttigieg was effectively elected mayor of South Bend in that year’s Democratic primary in May.

He needed only 7,663 votes to become the city’s leader.

The vote total represented 54 percent of the nearly 14,000 votes cast among five candidates that year. But it was only about 12 percent of the city’s voting-age population in a city of 101,000.

This year, with five candidates actively campaigning in the May 7 Democratic primary, an even smaller number of votes could win the mayor’s office.

Voter turnout will be critical, and the numbers so far suggest a weak showing. By the end of the day Tuesday, two weeks before the election, 599 people had turned in early ballots — counting in-person early voting and mail-in ballots — about 30 percent fewer votes than at the same point in 2011.

That’s a lot of math to say the candidates will need every vote they can muster to win the primary and face Republican Sean Haas in the Nov. 5 general election. The same is true for the candidates running for Common Council seats.

Common Council member Karen White said she and others are concerned by the low early voting totals so far — and by what they’re hearing from people as they knock on doors.

“A number of our citizens are not aware that there is a primary,” White said. “I don’t know if they fully understand that this is going to be a critical phase for the overall city of South Bend. We will be electing a new mayor and five new council members. You look at the impact this primary will have, I don’t believe citizens are fully aware of their need to vote and participate. To not vote is inexcusable.”

As chair of the social action committee in the local alumnae chapter of her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, White in 2016 created “Super Sunday,” an effort to encourage churches to urge their congregations to vote early on the Sunday before Election Day and to provide transportation to the polls that day.

The Super Sunday turnout in 2018 was “tremendous,” she said, with some people standing in line for two and a half hours to vote. She’s hoping for that same response on May 5.

Mayoral candidate Lynn Coleman said the city would “probably be lucky” if 16,000 votes are cast.

“That’s a sad commentary on our democracy, that that few people are interested in the process,” Coleman said. “We’ve tried to engage new people who have not registered to vote before. Fifteen to 20 votes could make the difference.”

Another mayoral candidate, Jason Critchlow, attributed low voter interest so far partly to the focus on Buttigieg’s presidential campaign.

On the other hand, it’s “sort of an interesting positive” that a smaller number of voters makes every voice a little louder, he said. Early on, Critchlow said, he knew he wanted to have dozens of house parties if he could find people willing to host them.

“Somebody had a house party for us and she had 20 people there that don’t usually vote,” Critchlow said. “The fact that she did that might make the difference on winning this election.”

Mayoral candidate James Mueller noted that low turnout in a primary is nothing new. Historically, 11,000 to 15,000 people have voted in city primaries.

“It just means that every vote is all the more important, and you can’t take any vote for granted,” Mueller said. “You have to work hard to make sure they actually go and vote.”

Common Council member Oliver Davis, also a mayoral candidate, said the small number of votes likely needed to win “makes everybody on election day have a fair playing field. No one has a clear advantage in this race right now, whether people have a huge financial war chest or a smaller war chest. I like that, personally.”

Who benefits?
A large campaign war chest can mean an advantage in advertising, yard signs and other ways to spread the word about a candidate.

Mueller and Critchlow reported about $245,000 and $139,000 in campaign contributions through April 12, respectively, while Coleman, Davis and Common Council member Regina Williams-Preston each had raised less than $20,000. Williams-Preston declined to comment for this story.

Mueller said higher turnout likely would benefit him more because he’s had more money to spend to get his message out.

“There are a lot of things at stake in this election, that I hope as we get closer to May 7, people will have a greater appreciation and we’ll see turnout ramp up,” Mueller said.

Davis predicted a significant number of Republicans will vote in the Democratic primary in order to have a say in picking the next mayor, and he said that could also benefit him.

Davis said many Republicans liked his May 2018 vote in support of a zoning change needed by Women’s Care Center, which promotes abortion alternatives, to open a new facility next to a proposed abortion clinic. Buttigieg, citing the potential for conflict between clients and protesters, vetoed the Common Council’s 5-4 vote to grant the rezoning, and the council fell short of the two-thirds vote needed to overturn his veto.

South Bend attorney Pete Agostino, long active in Democratic politics, said he doesn’t expect many Republican voters to cross over into the Democratic primary, largely because there are so relatively few who live in the city.

Agostino saw a large field of Democratic candidates coming and was hoping for a smaller slate. In early January, a couple days before the candidate filing period opened, he invited a handful of potential candidates to a closed-door meeting at his law office.

He said then that he wasn’t trying to dissuade anyone in particular from running. But he hoped those considering a run would come to an agreement to limit the number of candidates so the eventual winner could capture enough votes for a clear “mandate” from voters.

“I wanted to at least have the opportunity for the discussion because so often in these races, different political camps simply don’t talk to other camps,” he said. “It was an attempt to see if there was a way to congeal some kind of unified support for one person, not a specific person but the concept of, let’s see if we can work together toward one person. But it didn’t happen.”

In addition to the five candidates actively campaigning for mayor, voters will also see the names of four first-time candidates on the ballot: Shane Inez, Salvador Rodriguez, Richard Wright and William Smith.

Seeking endorsements
In addition to campaign donations, candidates also typically covet and seek media coverage of what they view as influential endorsements. Endorsements could be especially important this year, if they help motivate people to make it to the polls.

Mueller has touted the endorsement of Buttigieg, his boss and longtime friend, in making the argument that he’s best positioned to build on Buttigieg’s achievements.

Critchlow’s campaign website focuses a page on endorsements, including more than 20 from former and current state, county and city elected officials, and several organized labor groups, including South Bend’s Fraternal Order of Police.

It’s impossible to know exactly how many rank-and-file votes such endorsements deliver to a candidate, but they can be influential, said Tony Flora, North Central Indiana AFL-CIO chapter president.

“Often, this is the most trusted information received by the members,” Flora said. “It is usual for a solid majority of union members to vote as the endorsement goes.”

Coleman, a retired city cop who was an assistant to Buttigieg’s predecessor, Mayor Steve Luecke, last week announced that he has Luecke’s blessing.

Williams-Preston issued a statement saying she’s been endorsed by community leader Marguerite Taylor. She’s also been endorsed by April Lidinsky, a community activist and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at IUSB.

And, the Steel Warehouse workers’ union, IUE-CWA Local 809, has endorsed Williams-Preston.

It’s hard to say if the endorsements will translate into higher turnout.

Get-out-the-vote efforts on election day will certainly be critical. And for his part, Coleman says a focus on door-knocking and hand-shaking will offer an edge in what’s shaping up to be a very tight race.

“That old cliche that every vote counts is no more true than now,” Coleman said. “It’s important for us to get in front of as many people we can get in front of, make ourselves available to everyone. That’s not new for us... but even more so now.” ... 429ba.html
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Re: Mayor's Race 2019

Postby Buck Wheat » Wed May 01, 2019 8:36 am

SB voters must make sure Mueller (besides being P-Butt's faithful servant he played soccer at St. Anthony and rode his bike through River Park) does not win next Tuesday's primary. Every registered Republican in the city should vote for Critchlow.

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Re: Mayor's Race 2019

Postby johndobee » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:49 am

Registered republicans gave up making any kind of difference in SB politics a very long time ago!
They don’t bother to vote in primaries anymore and now neither to Dem voters apparently!
The vote turnout was abysmal!
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