VALPARAISO | Local Republicans learned last fall that raising the most money does not always translate into the most votes.
Republican Mike Heinold raised $77,165 in his bid for the south district county commissioner seat, but still lost to Democrat Laura Blaney, who trailed with $63,502 in contributions, according to end-of-the-year candidate financial disclosure reports filed at the county voter registration office.
Heinold collected $18,250 in the last three weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 general election, according to his report. He reported receiving $5,000 in those final weeks from Willis Conner of Indianapolis, $2,500 from Grieger's Motor Sales of Valparaiso and $2,000 from Royal Brush Manufacturing of Munster.
Blaney reported taking in $13,730 during the final three weeks of the race, including $6,800 from her aunt, Jackie Stutzman, of Valparaiso, who contributed a total of $26,800 to her niece. Blaney also received $4,050 from Dan Whitten, who she served with on the County Council through the end of last year.
Each of the three Republican County Council candidates raised more money than all but one of their three Democrat opponents, yet all the GOP hopefuls lost.
Republican Ralph Neff led the way with $29,494 in contributions, followed by Republican Mark Hoffman at $25,329, Democrat Dan Whitten at $20,372, Republican Joe Wszolek at $15,340 and Democrats Sylvia Graham at $12,036 and Bob Poparad at $10,000, according to the financial disclosure reports.
Hoffman reported receiving $5,600 in the final weeks of the election from Next Gen Political Action Committee of Valparaiso, and a total of $3,000 from Frank Hoffman of Zionsville, Ind., and $1,000 from Mislenkov Enterprises of Valparaiso.
Wszolek received $5,000 from the Indiana Realtors PAC, $4,000 from the Indiana Republican State Committee and $1,000 from the Valparaiso Firefighters PAC, according to his disclosure form.
Poparad loaned the entire $10,000 to his campaign, and Graham, who was the top vote-getter, loaned $5,000 to her campaign.
Democratic Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa, who won re-election, posted $43,473 in contributions compared to $18,503 by his Republican challenger Anthony Pampalone.