Incumbent Springfield City Commission candidate Joyce Chilton has spent thousands more than other candidates vying for three nonpartisan seats on Nov. 5.
Chilton has spent $20,268 in a bid to retain her seat, while former Clark County Republican Party Chairman Dan Harkins has spent $13,328 and City Commission incumbent Dan Martin has spent $6,153, according to campaign finance reports filed this week with the Clark County Board of Elections.
Harkins, however, has received more monetary contributions than Chilton and Martin, who have loans from their committee totalling more than $32,000 and $11,000, respectively.
The fourth candidate, incumbent Karen Duncan, did not file a campaign finance report this week, election officials said.
Chilton, a Springfield native and a Democrat, is running for her second term on the city commission and is campaigning as if she’s an underdog.
“You need to give your all if you’re going to campaign. I don’t know any other way,” Chilton said. “I’m not taking anything for granted. It’s up to the voters. You just never know.”
She has spent campaign funds on billboards, yard signs and newspaper and online ads and has also donated funds back to school programs and charities.
Harkins, a local attorney, has received nearly $7,000 in monetary contributions, while Chilton has received nearly $5,000 and Martin $2,400, according to finance reports.
Harkins has spent funds on direct mailings and advertisements.
Clark County Board of Elections Director Matthew Tlachac projects low voter turnout, and Harkins said the key for candidates is to target voters who are most likely to cast a ballot.
“My primary focus is on direct mailings,” Harkins said.
He said the city commission race will not be won or lost based on expenditures, but instead on the issues.
“I would hope it’s on the issues,” Harkins said. “The other candidates may have a leg up because they have ballot experience and voters have seen their names before.”
Martin, a Republican who joined the city commission in 1997, is seeking his fifth term in office. He is a Springfield native and a lawyer with the Ohio Attorney General’s office.
Duncan, a Democrat, is seeking her third term on the commission. She was first elected in 2005.
She told a News-Sun reporter her campaign has spent about $7,000 to $8,000 during the entire campaign and planned to check with a campaign worker to see why the report was not filed.
Duncan said about $6,000 has been spent on campaign mailings.
Her husband, Ron, 70, died late last month from complications of Lewy Body Dementia, a form of Parkinson’s.
She said she has not campaigned much this year because of his illness.
“I hope I win, but I haven’t been engaged the way I normally have been,” Duncan said.
She said she continues to grieve but has begun attending city commission meetings again and is committed to staying in the race.
“I’m in rough shape now, but as I recover from my loss and grieving, I will be an outstanding commissioner. I bring a cooperative spirit and common sense to the board.”
The four Springfield City Commission candidates share their views on the city’s biggest issues and how to solve them.