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Campaign finance reports show Hutchins leading Watts, Trzop

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Candidates spend big in county, mayor races

By Frank Johnson

With a handful of candidates having filed pre-election finance reports, the race where the most cash has been raised and spent is the three-way fight for Nelson County judge executive.

Former magistrate and Independent candidate Tim Hutchins has far outstripped his opponents, Republican Peter Trzop and incumbent Democrat Dean Watts, raising $23,300 to Trzop’s $9,423 and Watts’ $6,295.

The following information is gathered from election finance reports sent to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. Candidates who plan on spending more than $3,000 are required to file 32-day and 15-day pre-election reports.

The amounts quoted below are a combination of both reports, but the reports included only money spent and raised through a certain date and, therefore, do not account for all the contributions and expenditures of the candidates. They will be required to file post-election reports to complete their financial record.

From July 8 to Oct. 8, Hutchins directly contributed $7,416 of his money into the race but collected even more in the form of individual contributions. Forty-seven contributors chipped in for a total of $13,725 along with 11 anonymous cash contributions for an additional $550.

The $9,423 raised by Trzop from May 19 to Oct. 18 put him behind his Republican rival but ahead of Watts. Nearly half comes from the candidate himself, in the form of a $5,750 loan from Pete and Chasity Trzop. This differs from a direct contribution and allows Trzop to reclaim any unspent funds by assuming the “debt” of the loan when the election is over.

According to the information reported so far, Trzop had the lowest number of individual contributions to his campaign with nine people tossing in $1,450.

The candidate who has raised and spent the least is the position’s current holder. Watts took in $6,295 for his re-election bid, including $995 left over from the May primary. Not included in that number is a $3,125 in-kind contribution in the form of signs from previous elections.

Twenty-three individuals gave Watts a total of $5,100 to spend toward retaining the office. Of these 23, 15 were in the form of un-itemized checks of $100 or less. Watts has not invested any personal funds in his campaign.

If an individual contributor gives a check for $100 or less, candidates have the option of submitting it to the KREF as un-itemized, which means they do not have to specify the individual who gave the money in the election finance forms.

The contributors for all three candidates include many retired individuals and homemakers and also represent some of the county’s local business interests.

Hutchins received $1,000 each from David and Chris Monin — who own Monin Trucking Company and Tradewinds Trucking Company, respectively — and Debora and Shannon Monin. He also picked up two more $1,000 contributions from Karen Rogers, co-owner of Bluegrass Ice Company, and homemaker Joyce Higdon.

Some of Hutchin’s other contributions included $500 from Ted Strader; $200 from James Kirk with Preferred Properties Real Estate; $150 from Thomas Bischoff, owner of Bischoff Enterprises; and $100 from Andy Stone, owner of Keystone Cinemas.

Watts and Hutchins each received election funds from the Newcomb family and the owner of Nally & Haydon Quarries. John Newcomb, J.L. Newcomb and William D. Newcomb pitched in $500 each while Joseph A. Haydon Jr. threw $300 the candidates’ way.

They weren’t the only example of a business owner who contributed to more than one candidate. Larry Waddell, owner of Waddell’s Auto and Scrap Metal Recycling, gave $500 to Watts and Trzop. Trzop also collected $250 from Bardstown Pediatrics owner Yasi Saifullah and $100 from Balloon Lady owner Trudie Mattingly.

Trzop received help from some partisan groups as well. The Nelson County Republican Party gave an in-kind donation valued at $100 for providing a booth at the Nelson County Fair and the Nelson County Republican Executive Committee provided $600 in-kind through TV/radio ads.

Trzop also listed $640 as an in-kind contribution for “training seminars.” At previous campaign events, Trzop said he has attended some of the training sessions provided by the state for local government officials.

Contributors to Watts’ campaign included Mark Mathis, owner of Mago Construction; Deborah Mathis; and Heaven Hill Distillery owner Max L. Shapira. Mark and Deborah Mathis each contributed $500 while Shapira gave $300.

On the expenditures side, Hutchins has also outspent his opponents by a large margin so far, with $22,953 expended compared to $7,767 by Trzop and $3,584 by Watts.

Hutchins has spread advertising money across several mediums and made significant investments in various campaign signage.

He spent $7,054 at The Shirt Shop for signs, hats and T-shirts; $3,785 for yard signs, vehicle magnets, pencils, buttons, cozies and stickers; $3,300 at Andy Carey Signs; and $598 at Jackie’s Copy Dots for copies, flyers, invitations and envelopes. He dropped $4,000 in print advertising with The Kentucky Standard, $1,574 in TV ads with PLG-TV 13 and $164 in radio ads with WBRT.

Trzop has also invested fairly heavily in advertising. He spent $3,080 for ads in The Kentucky Standard, $150 for ads on the Nelson County Gazette website and $512 on radio ads with WBRT.

Watts’ spending has been more limited with only $1,158 spent on ads in The Kentucky Standard.

In terms of signage, Trzop has reported spending $392 to purchasing items from Detroit-based Sawicki & Son as of Oct. 18 with $247 expended for wire and posts for the signs at Lowe’s Hardware Store, $158 at Bluegrass Seed and $50 at PJ’s Seed, Feed and Hardware.

In addition to the in-kind contribution stated earlier, Watts has reported spending $1,259 on signs from Newton Manufacturing, a company based in Newton, Iowa. Some of Watts other expenses include $408 for door hangers, $238 in fuel for a “sign truck,” and $450 to DRE Sports for T-shirts.

At the end of the 32-day pre-election reporting period, Hutchins carried a significant amount of debt to several businesses. He owed $6,752 to The Shirt Shop; $916 to his own business, Handy Food Mart; $190 to Newton Manufacturing Company; $100 to WBRT Radio; $52 to Bardstown Mills; and $25 to Buzick Lumber and Home Center.

In his 15-day pre-election report, Hutchins reported all these debts as paid in full. .