Campaign money starts flowing in

The Republican challenger for mayor is off to an early lead in fundraising with his Nov. 15 announcement providing a two-month head start.

Councilman Jim Lienhoop raised a little more than $45,000 in the span of a month-and-a-half from 46 contributors, according to year-end campaign finance reports. He spent just a little more than $2,000 during that same period, leaving him with about $43,000 on hand at the end of 2014.

Incumbent Mayor Kristen Brown raised no money last year. The $21,000 in her coffers as of Dec. 31 came almost solely from two out-of-state donors, both of whom donated $10,000 in 2013.

Brown said she turned down donations in 2014 because she didn’t want to take money without knowing for sure whether she was going to run for re-election.

“I wanted to be 120 percent committed,” she said. “I got to that point over the holidays.”

With fewer than 100 days left until the May 5 primary, Brown and Lienhoop are ramping up fundraising efforts.

Brown started taking donations this month after kicking off her campaign with a Jan. 16 announcement that got things off to a good start, she said.

People at the kickoff event were positive and enthusiastic, and many of them gave their money as well as their support, the mayor said.

Brown she has been both humbled and pleased by the support she’s received in her bid for re-election.

Lienhoop is similarly appreciative of the backing he is getting, he said.

“I’ve been very encouraged by the level of support we’ve received, not just with financial donations, but with volunteers,” he said. “People have sought me out and offered to help.”

Contributions have come in from a diverse group of people who are dedicated to the city, he said.

Among the largest donors is local business owner and operator Ryan Hou, who said he chose to donate after seeing Lienhoop in action on a recent trade delegation to Asia. Hou is CEO of LHP Inc.

Hou has participated in the trip, put together through the Columbus Economic Development Board, for 10 years and said Lienhoop greatly helped in solidifying relationships with overseas companies that have chosen to invest in the city. Hou described the mayoral candidate as an open-minded person willing to sacrifice his time for the benefit of Columbus.

“Columbus needs to keep doing new things,” Hou said. “We need to have forward-thinking people leading the city.”

As of last week, Lienhoop’s campaign was about two-thirds of the way to a $120,000 fundraising goal, set based on the amount the mayor spent in her 2011 campaign, he said.

The total from Brown’s original campaign included more than $50,000 raised from January to May, the mayor said.

Brown said it’s “currently easier, as an incumbent with a good track record, to raise money.”

Although she is turning down what she calls special-interest money and focusing more on small donations from a greater number of people to avoid any perceived conflict of interest, the mayor said she’s off to a healthy start.

During the next three months, Brown said she plans to be focused on serving her constituents as mayor and use her spare time to get out the message about her track record and her plan for the future of Columbus.

Deadlines to watch for

Feb. 6: Candidates from the two major political parties must file declaration of candidacy by noon for the May city primary.

Feb. 9: Deadline to withdraw from the May primary.

April 6: Voter registration ends.

April 17: Primary candidates must file pre-primary campaign finance reports by noon.

May 5: Primary

Kristen Brown contributions

After raising and spending nearly $120,000 from mostly local donors in her 2011 mayoral campaign, Mayor Kristen Brown raised $20,000 in 2013. She had no contributions in 2012 or 2014.

Contributors in 2013 were:

$10,000: Gregory W. Wendt, David Schelhase

Jim Lienhoop contributions

From Nov. 14 to Dec. 31, Jim Lienhoop raised $45,145.07 in his campaign to become mayor of Columbus.

Those who donated include:

$5,000: Thomas Schoellkopf, Ryan Hou, James Henderson, Alice Johnson

$3,000: Susan Roszczyk, Kenny Glass

$2,500: John Kussman

$1,595.07: Lienhoop for Council

$1,000: Mary Ferdon, Joan McKinney, Randall Tucker, Gregg Summerville, Greg Boll, James D. Lienhoop, Frederick Porter, McKay Management, Barnes & Thornburg

$500: Charles Corbin, Steven Stanton, J. David Sinclair, James Kelly, Barbara Stevens, Paul F. Corya

$400: Joe Lohmeyer

$250: Paul Brown, Todd Trinkle, Paul D. Corya, Brad Davis

$200: Kenneth Kaiser, Kurt Ellis, Roger Hackman

$150: David McKinney

$100: Diane Robbins, Robin Hilber, Joseph Shafran, Jesse Brand, John Brand, Donald Trapp, Debra Force, Jeffrey Washburn, Aliki Leonard