Who’s funding the campaigns of Athens candidates

Nolan Cramer
Nov 1 · 6 min read

The New Political obtained pre-general election campaign finance reports for most of the candidates running for City Council and mayor from the Athens County Board of Elections. The reports detail contributions candidates received and their campaign expenditures through Oct. 16. The general election in Athens is Tuesday.

Damon Krane, Independent mayoral candidate:

Damon Krane, a self-described democratic socialist and a food truck owner, is the challenging mayoral candidate.

More than $6,000 of the nearly $7,900 of contributions made to Krane’s campaign were from himself. He received a total of 27 online credit card contributions ranging between $5 and $100 each, totaling in $891.60. The candidate also received $130 in cash donations.

Just over $700 of Krane’s money came in the form of small donations from individuals outside Athens County. Contributions came from people who live in locations such as Columbus, Cleveland, Upper Sandusky, New York City, New York state, Maryland, North Carolina, Colorado and California. But more than $800 was donated to his campaign from Athens residents.

Krane’s wife, Athens resident Ece Krane, made a $500 online contribution to her husband’s campaign.

His campaign spent $635 on printing at Ohio University’s Alden Library.

He also gave Independent City Council candidates Ellie Hamrick and Chris Monday in-kind contributions — non-monetary contributions in the form of goods or services — of spots in his campaign video advertisement, which he gave a fair market value of $100 per slot. A fair market value is the estimated worth of an in-kind contribution.

Krane declared the advertising space on his Hot Potato Food Truck, where he placed a plethora of campaign literature, as an in-kind contribution he received with a fair market value of $550.

The candidate spent over $1,200 on Facebook ads and more than $600 on campaign communications work done by a Columbus resident.

Steve Patterson, Democratic mayoral candidate:

Steve Patterson is the incumbent Democratic mayor of Athens, a former Ohio U professor and an Air Force veteran.

Patterson received a total of $7,963 in campaign contributions. Of those contributions, $3,870 came from social or fundraising events.

Robert Leslie Cornwell, the son of Les Cornwell — a landlord who owns the Palmer Place apartments and many other properties around town — donated $500 to the Patterson campaign. Alan McMillan, a businessman, Ohio U instructor and landlord, gave the candidate $250.

Democratic members of Athens City Council also donated to the incumbent mayor. City Council President Chris Knisley contributed $50, and Sarah Grace, who is running for reelection, donated $50 to Patterson.

Athens County Commissioner Lenny Eliason, who is married to Athens City Law Director Lisa Eliason, donated $250 to the candidate.

The Ohio chapter of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, a major labor union, contributed $250 to Patterson, and the National Association of Social Workers Ohio gave $200.

While the vast majority of donations made to the candidate’s campaign came from Athens County residents, one contribution in the amount of $500 came from outside of the county.

He received an in-kind contribution from the Athens County Democratic Party on April 7 for food, which had a fair market value of $100.

The Patterson campaign donated $150 on Oct. 2 to the Athens County Democratic Party.

Ellie Hamrick, Independent at-large City Council candidate:

Independent candidate Ellie Hamrick is an Ohio U graduate and a self-described socialist.

Hamrick’s campaign received $2,128 in contributions. Notably, more than half the money the campaign raised — nearly $1,550 — came from donors who live outside Athens County, including in New York City, Virginia and Illinois.

Nearly all contributions to her campaign were from online credit card donations.

Her campaign also received a $200 online credit card donation from Krane.

Hamrick spent almost $623 on Facebook ads, nearly $107 on SMS text message services and $75 on printing at Alden Library.

The Hamrick campaign paid $588.26 in reimbursements to Ilya Kogan — who, according to her LinkedIn profile, is an Enterprise Application and Integration Architect for Ohio U — for T-shirts, stickers and the campaign’s SMS text message services.

In the weeks before the election, Hamrick and Krane launched a text message campaign to promote their platforms to Ohio U students and to encourage voter registration.

Her campaign received one in-kind contribution from a local videographer in the form of a campaign video with a fair market value of $50.

Beth Clodfelter, Democratic at-large City Council candidate:

Beth Clodfelter is the only Democratic challenger running for an at-large position on Athens City Council.

Her campaign received a total of $7,362. More than $2000 of that came from a previous campaign. She received $5,012 from new contributions.

The Ohio chapter of the National Association of Social Workers’ contributed $200. A total of $1,270 of her contributions were from social or fundraising events.

Clodfelter received more than $1,900 from individuals outside Athens County, including members of her family who donated the majority of that sum.

Athens City Councilmember Democrat Christine Fahl donated $100 and Lenny Eliason contributed $50 to her campaign.

The Democrat’s campaign spent nearly $372 on supplies for a Fourth of July parade. This included one polo shirt for herself to wear, 12 T-shirts for her supporters, bags of candy and tags to go on the candy.

Clodfelter’s campaign received one in-kind contribution of 175 business envelopes from the Athens County Democratic Party with a fair market value of $120.75.

Sarah Grace, Democratic at-large City Council candidate:

Sarah Grace is an incumbent Democratic candidate and landlord.

Grace’s campaign received nearly $406 in donations. Of that, $55.89 were carried over from a previous campaign finance report, $250 were from new contributions and $100 were other income.

The single contribution to her campaign was in the form of a $250 check from the Ohio chapter of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

Her other income was a $100 cash contribution from herself.

The campaign’s only expenditures included a $44.22 charge on Amazon for pinwheels for a parade and $290.88 for T-shirts.

Grace also has one current loan out from herself in the amount of $1,350.

The Athens County Democratic Executive Committee gave Grace’s campaign in-kind contributions for postage, printing and design work with a fair market value of $1170.78.

Peter Kotses, Democratic at-large City Council candidate:

Peter Kotses is an incumbent Democratic candidate and the owner of Athens Bicycle on Stimson Avenue.

According to the campaign finance report from the Athens County Board of Elections, it received Kotses’ report one day late on Oct. 25; the deadline to file pre-general election reports was Oct. 24.

Kotses’ campaign had $437.01 total funds available. Of that total, $237.01 were brought over from his last campaign finance report and $200 were from monetary contributions.

The only contribution the campaign received was a $200 check from John Glazer, senior executive in residence for strategic development at Ohio U’s Voiniovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

His campaign only had a single expenditure of nearly $177 to Minuteman Press, a local print shop, for printing.

Additionally, the Democrat has a loan out from himself with an outstanding balance of $1,000.

Kotses also received in-kind contributions from the Athens County Democratic Executive Committee in the amount of $1170.78 for postage, printing and design work.

Other candidates:

Independent candidates and Chris Monday are not represented because campaign finance law only requires candidates to file if they have contributions or expenditures greater than $1,000, according to the Athens County Board of Elections.

Monday told TNP he received a small batch of donations totaling in $400, and he spent roughly that same amount on his campaign.

Managing Editor Cole Behrens and News Editor Ben Peters contributed to this report.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article misstated the locations of where some of Krane’s donations came from. The article was updated to clarify those locations.

Originally published at https://thenewpolitical.com on November 1, 2019.

Nolan Cramer

Written by

@TheNewPolitical news reporter | @scrippsjschool student majoring in news & info | former: @toledonews & @ICollegian

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