The two front runners in Akron's Democratic mayoral primary have cast their ballots.
Mayor Don Plusquellic stopped by the Summit County Board of Elections today to vote, a day before the primary election in Akron, Barberton and Stow.
Plusquellic arrived without a large crowd, saying that voting is an individual decision and that he doesn't require an entourage. The mayor commented afterward that the most important thing is for people to participate in the political process.
That's something Plusquellic has in common with Mike Williams, who is also running for mayor. Williams, who did choose to arrive with a large group of people when he cast his ballot last week, also said that he wants the winner to truly be selected by the largest possible number of potential voters, regardless of the outcome.
Janice Davis is running against Williams and Plusquellic as well.
Plusquellic and Williams aren't the only ones have already voted. The board of elections reports that 4,523 absentee ballots have been requested, 4,041 of them by voters in Akron. In all, 3,727 ballots have been marked and returned. The individual envelopes containing those ballots remain sealed until the polls close Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
There's a lot of money involved in the Akron Democratic mayoral campaign. It was previously reported that Don Plusquellic has far exceeded Mike Williams in terms of attracting revenue.
AkronNewsNow decided to take a closer look inside the war chests of both front running candidates. Janice Williams is also running as a Democrat, but didn't raise enough money to require filing a report at this time. It's also important to note that the candidates will have to file a "post-primary" report that will include revenues and expenditures made the last several weeks of the campaign and slightly beyond.
The vast differences in campaign funds between Plusquellic and Williams can be shown in many ways, including this example: Plusquellic shows more than $39,000 in the latest report alone just from employees at FirstEnergy. That's quadruple the total amount raised by Williams during the same time period.
There are many similar examples of multiple employees at the same company offering money to help keep the mayor in office - Kenmore Construction, H.M. Miller, Roetzell & Andress, Summit Construction and the list goes on. These aren't just token donations, either. Dozens are for $450 or more each ... some as high as $1,600.
Williams' report doesn't show so many themes and certainly not many higher-dollar drops. In fact, the latest report shows that a total of two donors contributed $450 and no more.
And you have to hand it to Plusquellic. He not only attracts big dollars, but sometimes from people you might not suspect. People like Donzell Taylor of Green, who coughed up $300 for the Democrat at a fundraiser in March. Taylor is not only a registered Republican, but he's the husband of our Republican Lt. Governor Mary Taylor.
Over the last few months, Williams has spent about $20,000 with a Cleveland area agency and a good deal of that money was probably used for media buys. Almost all of his other expenditures have been spent on supplies and ad agencies in Akron. Don Plusquellic has spent even more money, much in Akron, but he also contracted with a New York firm for a $20,000 survey, plus $60,000 on cable tv ads and more than $12,000 to a Cleveland firm for media consulting, not to mention the expenses of a paid campaign staffer.
Janice Davis, the other Democrat on the Akron mayoral ballot, didn't raise enough money to require filing the paperwork from which the above information is derived.
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