The Republic Masthead

Sheriff's race spending tops ballot


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More campaign money has been raised and spent by the four Republican Bartholomew County sheriff candidates than any other local race in Tuesday’s primary.

The four raised a combined $92,422 trying to win the Republican nomination for sheriff to succeed incumbent Mark Gorbett, who cannot run again because of term limits.

Columbus Police Lt. Matt Myers raised the most from the start of his campaign a year ago through the April 12 reporting period, $30,898.

Maj. Todd Noblitt, chief deputy for the Sheriff’s Department and Gorbett’s second in command, raised the second-highest, $27,182. Gorbett, who donated $1,000 to Noblitt’s campaign, also this week endorsed him for the Republican nomination for sheriff.

No incumbent Bartholomew County sheriff has publicly endorsed another candidate in at least 25 years, said Scott Bridge, speaking for the Noblitt for Sheriff campaign.

Another sheriff’s deputy, Sgt. T.A. Smith, raised $23,615. Deputy Sgt. Dean Johnson reported $10,709 in contributions.

Of the four, only Smith has run for office before, seeking the sheriff’s position in 1995. The Bartholomew County sheriff is paid $114,800 and supervises about a $6 million budget for the county.

Myers also led in the spending category, at $25,991 through April 12. T.A. Smith followed in second, spending $15,299. Noblitt spent $14,757, and Johnson’s expenditures totaled $9,074.

Noblitt and Myers spent most of their money on yard signs, T-shirts and distribution of personal promotional items. Smith’s largest investment has been in print advertising, while Johnson spent campaign funds on direct mailings and yard signs.

State House race

Incumbent Republican 59th District State Rep. Milo Smith reported $30,212 in contributions from 2013 when his campaign began to April 2014. His primary opponent, Republican Ryan Lauer, raised $16,330 during the same period.

Combined, their contributions totaled $46,542.

State representatives make $24,140.16 in annual salary for the part-time job, according to the state clerk’s office in Indianapolis.

Smith was elected District 59 state representative in 2006, taking office for the first of four terms in 2007. The 59th district includes all but eastern/northeastern Bartholomew County. This is the first time Smith has faced a primary opponent.

The incumbent raised more than half of his contributions, $18,300, from corporations, political action committees and donations from the campaigns of other incumbent politicians, according to the campaign finance forms.

Smith, who owns and operates Tax Consultants Inc., listed $22,981 in campaign expenses, spent on advertising, contributions to the Republican Party and the Republican Central Committee.

Smith’s campaign contribution and expense report indicates a contribution and expenditure of $7,700 on March 2 from the Committee to Elect Brian Bosma.

Smith explained the money was to conduct polling to see where Smith was in the primary race against Lauer and was paid for by Bosma.

Bosma, Indiana’s speaker of the House, is a Republican representing northeast Marion County and southern Hamilton County.

Lauer, a Cummins engineer and current president of the Bartholomew County Council, reported spending $8,562 on his campaign for newspaper ads, Facebook ads, food for a fundraiser and yard signs.

Other races

The three Republican candidates seeking the nomination for Bartholomew Superior Court 2 judge raised a combined $40,458 during 2013 through the end of the April campaign reporting period.

The challengers, Columbus City Attorney Jeff Logston and Bartholomew County Deputy Prosecutor Greg Long, raised and spent more than incumbent Judge Kathleen Coriden, who previously ran as a Democrat, the campaign finance forms revealed.

Full-time judges in trial courts throughout the state are paid $134,112 a year, according to Kathryn Dolan, spokeswoman for the Division of State Court Administration.

Long reported $16,811 in contributions from 2013 through this month and spent $13,050.52 on advertising, printing and supplies.

After raising $12,074, Logston reported $9,178 in expenditures, for advertising and billboards, yard signs and T-shirts.

Coriden has raised $11,573 and spent $7,218, on screen printing, sign painting and for an art director/designer.

In the race for Bartholomew County clerk, the two Republican candidates have raised a combined total of $19,729. Incumbent Clerk Tami Hines is leaving office after serving two consecutive terms, the maximum allowed.

Bartholomew County election supervisor Jay Phelps had $11,699 in contributions. Karen Aud, who has served as Hines’ chief deputy for six years, raised $8,030.

The county clerk is paid $50,384.88, according to the Bartholomew County auditor’s office.

From 2013 through this month, Phelps spent $7,088 in his campaign, mainly for yard signs, T-shirts, advertising, banners and mail expenses.

Expenditures for Aud were listed at $3,862, spent on printing and photography.

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