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Money trail hints at 2015 plan for Henry

Mayor Tom Henry hasn’t announced whether he is seeking a third term in 2015, but his campaign finance activity gives a big hint that he is, at the least, giving it serious thought: He raised nearly $250,000 in 2012, the campaign finance report he filed earlier this month shows.

Much of the money was raised on three days coinciding with fundraisers. On Feb. 2, just a month after beginning his second term, the mayor reported raising more than $35,000, probably from his annual gala. The single biggest influx of cash came on July 10, when Henry’s committee raised more than $75,000, nearly all of it most likely from his annual golf outing.

Henry may not have decided whether to seek re-election in 2015. But nearly three years away from the next mayoral election, his campaign is in great financial shape, ending the year – after expenses – with more than $90,000 in the bank. And none of this includes last weekend’s fundraiser.

Such significant, early fundraising can be an attempt to ward off potential opponents by building an intimidating campaign war chest long before the election campaign even starts.

Harper, too

Meanwhile, Republican Mitch Harper’s first big fundraiser in his 2015 mayoral race – held 100 miles away in Indianapolis – appeared to be moderately successful at best, the campaign finance report he filed earlier this month shows.

Harper reported an in-kind donation of $250 from Monarch Beverage, an Indianapolis beer and wine distributor, on Nov. 20 for fundraiser-related expenses. He also reported receiving contributions that day totaling about $4,500 from 11 people – all residents of the Indianapolis area.

Harper also loaned $9,000 to his own campaign committee. Interestingly, though Republicans criticized the mayor during the 2011 campaign for the amount of city debt, the Henry campaign reported ending 2012 with no debts while the Harper campaign reported cumulative debts of more than $68,000.

Harper ended 2012 with about $10,000 in the bank.

Hughes’ committee

The reports due Jan. 16 also included 17 final filings from campaigns that disbanded after the 2012 reporting period – including the committee for 2011 Republican mayoral candidate Paula Hughes. Perhaps the biggest critic of city debt under Henry, Hughes used the $465 that remained in her campaign account at the end of 2011 to repay a debt to herself and her husband. And they forgave the remaining $26,535 debt the campaign committee owed the candidate and her husband for money they loaned to the committee.

See the reports

Campaign reports for local offices from 2012 are available at the Allen County Election Board’s Web site: www.allencounty.us/campaign-finance-reporting

I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating. No law or rule requires the local Election Board to put the reports online. The board, Director Beth Dlug and her staff deserve commendations for the extra effort in making this public information much more accessible.

Tracy Warner, editorial page editor, has worked at The Journal Gazette since 1981. He can be reached at 461-8113 or by email, twarner@jg.net.

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