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Politicos account for cash

By Staff | May 7, 2010

Paul Taylor holds a small cash advantage over his Democratic opponents in the race for Shepherdstown’s County Commission seat as the primary election looms next week.

Campaign finance documents released last week following the pre-primary election reporting period show that Taylor has a balance of $1900, followed by incumbent Jim Surkamp, who reported a balance of $890, then Ruth McQuade, who reported a balance of $17.34.

One of those three will go on to face Republican candidate Walt Pellish in the general election. Pellish, running unopposed in the Republican primary, reported a balance of $1,560.

Taylor’s money advantage comes largely from two loans he made to his campaign. Thus far, Taylor has loaned himself $4,100, raised $1,900 in cash donations and received in-kind donations amounting to $500 for a total of $6,500. All of the cash donations were generated at a

fund-raiser for Taylor held at the Anvil Restaurant in Harpers Ferry on April 19, $535 of which came from miscellaneous donations of less than $20. Despite reporting the largest balance, Taylor reports total unpaid debts so far amounting to $6,980.

Surkamp reports that he has raised $9,800 in contributions, $1,220 of which came from in-kind contributions. Of that money, $7,720 has already been spent. Surkamp’s money comes from 30 donors of less than $250, totaling $3,500. Another $5,100 came from eight donors of more than $250, including three donations of $1,000, one of which is from Surkamp himself. The other two $1,000 donations came from local historian John Allen and Leonard Frenkel of Baltimore, Md, both of whom contributed in Oct. 2009.

McQuade, with only $17 in the bank heading into next week’s primary, has loaned her campaign $4,300, split between two loans of $2,000 and $2,300. McQuade reports total contributions of $2,235, $930 of which came from 10 donors of less than $250. The other $1,300 came from

three large donations by local chiropractor David Miljour, who gave $300, in addition to federal relations consultant Lisa Phillips, of Harpers Ferry, and attorney Pamela Maple, of Shepherdstown, both of whom gave $500. Maple works with McQuade at their law firm.

Republican Pellish, running unopposed in next weeks primary, has so far raised $4,880 in campaign contributions, split between 14 donors of $250 or less, totaling $1,950, and five donations exceeding $250, totaling $2,930. Pellish’s big money donors include Ray Alvarez, of

Shepherdstown, who donated $1,000 back in January, the President and CEO of US Silica, John Ulizio, of Hagerstown, who donated $500 in February, and Martinsburg attorney A. Neal Barkus, who donated $500 in January. Pellish reports incurring $1,250 in unpaid bills as of April 30.

A candidate who finds him or herself on the losing end of a primary often donates the remaining campaign funds to other political candidates, which can make the loser into something of a power broker in the local political landscape. Conversely, a losing candidate could also retain those funds in their campaign committee for use in a future run for office.