Hamilton County incumbent doubles challenger’s fundraising efforts

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Hamilton County Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt received twice the amount of campaign contributions as his challenger for the District 3 seat since the beginning of the year.

Campaign finance reports, which were due at noon Friday, showed that Heirbrandt collected $30,300 from January to April 8, adding to his existing campaign fund of nearly $140,000.

Heirbrandt, a Republican seeking re-election for the first time, is facing Fishers business owner Bill Smythe in the primary election May 3.

Smythe, who has criticized Heirbrandt for taking campaign funds from vendors and has made his slogan “Voters over Vendors,” received $15,162 in the same time period. The political newcomer started the year without any funding.

Heirbrandt’s largest donation was $2,000 from Dave Richter, president of Indianapolis-based United Consulting. The engineering firm conducted the State Road 37 corridor study commissioned by Hamilton County a couple of years ago and is also working on several state-led projects along Interstate 69.

The biggest contribution to Smythe came from Lockhart Cadillac, which gave $5,000. Smythe also received $2,000 from Honda of Fishers. Both car dealerships are along S.R. 37, which is expected to be transformed into a free-flowing parkway in the coming years.

Heirbrandt has been a big proponent of the $124 million project that would include the portion of the roadway from 126th to 146th streets while Smythe formed and previously led the group of business owners with concerns about the construction. 

In addition to receiving more funding, Heirbrandt also spent significantly more than Smythe this year, with expenses totaling more than $90,500. An itemized list of Heirbrandt’s expenses was not included in the online report from the Hamilton County Election’s Office.

Smythe has spent close to $12,000, mostly on printing services, advertisements and signs. He’s paid about $232 to Facebook to promote posts.

Heirbrandt reported having nearly $80,000 left in his account, while Smythe listed $3,230 in cash remaining.

In the Hamilton County Council at-large race, the Republican candidates have a range of campaign funds from literally zero dollars to more than $16,000.

Longtime incumbent Rick McKinney collected $9,150 during the reporting period, adding to his existing $14,000. He spent $16,269, which mostly paid for two billboard advertisements.

One is located near I-69 and is visible to southbound traffic nearing the Interstate 465 exit, and the other is near Keystone Parkway and 96th Street in Carmel. McKinney paid $11,112 to Clear Channel Outdoor for the displays, according to his campaign filing.

Fellow longtime incumbent Brad Beaver, on the other hand, only received and spent $1,210 this year and most of the funding came from himself.

Retiring Fishers Police Chief George Kehl, who ended 2015 with a $5,000 donation from Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness’ campaign, collected $13,321 so far this year. The biggest donation—$5,000—came from Heirbrandt’s campaign. He also received $1,000 from Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear.

Kehl has spent $16,680 on his campaign for printing and mailings for advertisements and marketing materials.

Fall Creek Township Trustee Jeff Hern started the year with almost $15,000, but only received $500 during the reporting period. He spent about $14,000. 

Bill Dennis reported no contributions and expenses.

No Democrats have filed to run in any of the Hamilton County races.

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