LANNAN: Cash could swing sprawling Fishers mayor’s race

Keywords Opinion / Viewpoint

viewpoint-lannan-larryA large amount of money is pouring into the Republican primary election for the mayor of Fishers. Don’t be swayed by the amount of money a campaign has raised.

With Fishers being a solid GOP stronghold, and with no Democrat or third party yet on the ballot for the mayoral election, the winner of the Republican primary May 6 will be a solid favorite to take the oath of office Jan. 1 as the first mayor. That’s the day the town becomes a city.

GOP donors are talking with their checkbooks, as evidenced by the most recent fundraising reports.

Fishers Town Manager Scott Fadness raised $138,975 in 2013 and had $93,303 in cash on hand at the end of the year. No other candidate came close to raising that much cash.

Former Town Council President Walt Kelly was first to announce his candidacy for mayor and was likely expecting some of the same support he once had from GOP donors. His 2013 report shows $23,126 raised and $8,905 on hand at the end of the year.

Fadness Fadness

The fundraising gap doesn’t appear to be closing. Kelly posted a message on his campaign Facebook page March 31 indicating his fundraising has not kept up with the Fadness campaign.

“Time and time again Fishers residents have shown they will not blindly vote for the person or cause with the most money,” Kelly wrote.

The only currently elected office holder in the mayor’s race is Town Council member Renee Cox. She is also the only candidate to openly and vigorously support a strong mayor’s office in the 2012 referendum. Cox raised a mere $1,814 in 2013 and spent most of that, with only $38 cash on hand at the end of the year.

Marvin Scott, former Republican candidate for Congress and U.S. Senate, is running and has made a point of saying he is accepting no campaign money. He is offering yard signs from his campaign, but you have to pay for the sign yourself.

Maurice Heitzman, an engineer by trade, has been active in many local volunteer activities, mostly with the Boy Scouts. Heitzman got into the mayor’s race in 2014, so he filed no 2013 fundraising report.

The same goes for self-described “citizen activist” Elaine Viskant. She entered the race late in the game and no political contribution reports are available.

Fadness’ money advantage means the local political establishment, including the people writing the biggest checks, have anointed him as their choice.

As voters, my advice to you is this: Don’t vote for Fadness because he’s raising the most money and has the support of Republican donors. On the other hand, don’t penalize Fadness because he has the biggest stash of political cash.

Look at all the candidates. Don’t be swayed by the amount of money a campaign has raised.

Fishers is transitioning to a city. The winner of this year’s mayoral election will serve only one year in office. In 2015, we do the Fishers city election all over again, with four-year terms at stake.

Look for Fishers’ new mayor to rake in most of the political money in next year’s campaign.•


Lannan, a broadcast journalist until 1983, is a retired federal employee. He writes at the news blog Send comments on this column to

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