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Mayor Coleman gets more cash than GOP rival
Wednesday,  August 1, 2007 3:32 AM
By Robert Vitale

Click here to see a list of top contributors to each candidate's campaign.
Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman brought in more than five times as much money as his Republican opponent during the first half of the year, according to reports filed yesterday by both candidates.

The campaign-finance race so far: Coleman, $498,311; challenger William M. Todd, $90,450.

The Democratic incumbent's advantage is even bigger when the January-to-June haul is added to money left over from previous campaigns.

That shows Coleman with $519,800 in the bank as of June 30. Todd had $80,718.
Candidates for mayor and Columbus City Council filed their first campaign-finance reports of the year yesterday with the Franklin County Board of Elections.

Both sides in the mayoral race criticized the other's sources of campaign cash.

Democrats pointed out that Todd's biggest individual donor -- at $20,000 -- was David L. Brennan, president of Akron-based White Hat Management, a for-profit operator of charter schools in Ohio and six other states.

Todd has called for a mayoral takeover of Columbus Public Schools and the creation of city-sponsored charter schools as a way to improve the district's performance.
In February, he helped incorporate a nonprofit called School Choice Ohio, which shares a lobbyist and Downtown address with White Hat.

Todd said yesterday that Brennan's support came because of his proposals for Columbus schools, not the other way around.

"He's heard my message and what I want to do," Todd said. "I think he likes that."
Todd, in turn, questioned names on Coleman's donor list, which included developers, builders and others who do business with City Hall.

"The mayor has become the master of pay-to-play," he said.

Bryan Clark, spokesman for the Democrats' coordinated campaign, said Coleman reported a total of 781 donors representing all walks of life.

Todd's biggest sources of campaign cash -- Brennan, the Franklin County GOP and a loan from himself -- accounted for about two-thirds of his money, Clark said.

In City Council races, Democrat Michael C. Mentel led all candidates with more than $50,000 in contributions between January and June.

Mentel was elected council president in January.

Andrew Ginther, a Democrat running for his first term after a January appointment, raised more than $16,000. Democrat Hearcel Craig, who was appointed in April, raised more than $10,000.

Two Republicans in the seven-candidate council field -- Bill Brownson and Paul Bingle -- didn't file reports yesterday. Candidates aren't required to report donations if they raise or spend less than $10,000. The third, Larry Thomas, reported $5,380 in donations.

Democrat Charleta Tavares raised less than $10,000 as well, Clark said.

Republicans led one money race. In a head-to-head council contest to serve out the term of former Councilwoman Mary Jo Hudson, GOP candidate Heidi Samuel raised almost $5,000 more than Democratic incumbent Priscilla Tyson.



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