ELKHART — Campaign finance reports show that Ashley Boling Molyneaux was able to raise the most money of the candidates running for Elkhart mayor this year, including her Democratic primary opponent Rod Roberson and Republican Dave Miller, who is unopposed in the May 7 election.
The Ashley4Elkhart Campaign Committee reported $58,352.92 via 94 contributions from Jan. 1 through April 12, with an average contribution of $621.
In the same period, the Committee to Elect Rod Roberson as Mayor of Elkhart raised $40,883.75 from 53 contributions, making the average donation $771.
Though Miller is not running against anyone in the primary, the former mayor raised $11,110.00. That came from 16 contributions, making the average $694.
Boling Molyneaux said the results reflect confidence toward her from voters and the business community.
“I’m proud of that, “ she said. “I think that it really shows that people realize that I get results for my community, and they want a leader in there who just is a mover and a shaker.”
Roberson said he was pleased with his campaign’s fundraising results and did not appear to be worried that Boling Molyneaux is ahead on that account.
“I’m not in a race to raise dollars against her. I’m in the race to be successful in the primary against her. Obviously fundraising is a critical element of the campaign, but it’s not the dollars that vote,” he said.
In spending, Boling Molyneaux also reached a higher amount than her opponents, though Roberson spent a larger part of his contributions. Boling Molyneaux spent $34,798.18, or 60 percent. Roberson, who spent $31,912.02 had a 78 percent burn rate. Miller had the lowest burn rate, at 36 percent, spending $4,029.69.
“I’m not concerned about burn rate with two weeks out in the election,” said Roberson. “We’ve been through 80 percent of the race, and I’ve spent close to 80 percent of the dollars. I’m not saving anything for a rainy day.”
Boling Molyneaux said that her spending a smaller portion of her funds shows that she is a good financial steward. She also looked ahead to the election in the fall.
“We wanted to make sure we had some in reserve for the last few weeks here for the primary campaign and that we have some in reserve when we win the primary,” she said.
Both Democratic candidates received some contributions that make up a large part of their overall results. Boling Molyneaux received donations of $10,000 from Richard Boling and Scott Welch as well as ERW Transport LLC, though the latter was given after April 12 and is therefore not included in the $58,352.92 that she raised in the first quarter.
Other large donations came from RB Realty LLC, donating $7,500, and Elkhart Day Surgery Center LLC, donating $5,000.
Roberson received one $10,000 donation from Arthur J. Decio and two $5,000 contributions from Charlie Habic. Arlene Mark donated $5,000.
Miller’s largest contribution was $2,500 from Tom and Nancy Curtis. Among the contributors of $1,000 or more is Neese for Mayor, donating $1,000.
Miller has successfully won the Elkhart mayoral election twice before and said there is no reason to worry about the Democrats having raised more than him at this point.
“This isn’t all the money we’ll raise. This is only the beginning. It’s just the early-in enthusiastic supporters,” he said. “I’ve been down this road before and expect that the race will end up costing a lot more money, but we’ve got plenty of time.”
Among City Council candidates, most raised about $1,000 or less. Former City Councilman Arvis Dawson, who is running for an at-large seat and is not opposed in the Democratic primary, raised $21,537.76 and spent $6,512.82. Incumbent City Council President Brian Dickerson raised $6,000 and spent $10.
In the contested Republican primary for Elkhart city clerk, Debra Barrett came out ahead, having raised $5,170.38 and carried over $1,004.60 from 2018. She spent $2,252.88 in the first quarter of 2019.
Her opponent, Ronda Bilancio, raised $750 but carried over $4,370.39 from 2018. She spent $4,237.19.
Follow Rasmus S. Jorgensen on Twitter @ReadRasmus