Contested Republican Primary for PA State House 157 . . . Does Campaign Finance Report Indicate Kampf & Buckwalter as Fiscally Responsible? You be the judge –

We are in the countdown for the Pennsylvania Primary Election, Tuesday, May 18.  Locally, there is a contested Republican race for the PA State House 157, currently held by incumbent Democrat Paul Drucker.  Ken Buckwalter and Warren Kampf were both recommended by the Chester County Republican Party in March and will appear on Tuesday’s ballot.  The outcome of the Primary will determine whether Buckwalter or Kampf is on the General Election ballot in November and opposing Drucker.

There’s been much said and written about small business owner and Phoenixville Borough councilman Buckwalter vs. attorney and Tredyffrin Township supervisor Kampf.  Each of the candidates has sent several targeted campaign mailers to registered Republicans in the 157 district. Yesterday, Republican residents received a Kampf campaign mailer which focused on Buckwalter’s voting record on the ‘pour tax’ and also the sewer tax.

Did you know that Pennsylvania is only of only 11 states that do not protect their citizens, elections and government from the destructive impact of unlimited campaign contributions?  In fact, in March of this year, Senator Jane Earll (R-49) and Senator Jay Costa (D-43) introduced Senate Bill 1269 which would amend the Pennsylvania Election Code to set campaign contribution limits per election, including in-kind contributions.  The finance reform legislation would place limits on campaign contributions and prohibit the use of campaign funds for personal uses. There are important reasons that voters value fiscal responsibility in their elected officials.  Managing public money is a matter of public trust, and a charge that should not be taken lightly.

When introducing his campaign reform bill, Senator Costa commented that “It is vitally important that Pennsylvania renew the process of reforming our campaign finance laws by placing reasonable restrictions on political contributions and expenditures that are overwhelmingly supported by the public.”  An important campaign component for State House 157 Republican candidates Buckwalter and Kampf is their promise of fiscal responsibility and discipline in Harrisburg.  With a contested primary, I thought it would be interesting to look at how each of these candidates has fiscally managed their campaigns leading up to Tuesday’s Primary.  Campaign finance reporting is public information and I have copies of the latest reports for Buckwalter and Kampf.  Each of the candidates filings are ‘as of May 5, 2010′; Buckwalter electronically filed online and Kampf’s paper-filed. 

Comparing the campaign finance report indicates that total expenditures, debts and obligations as of May 5 for Kampf ($43,541.18) vs. Buckwalter ($10,458.69). These numbers indicate that Kampf is outspending Buckwalter approximately 4-1.  I then looked at how much money each candidate had raised.  As of May 5, total campaign contributions for Kampf ($58,448.49) vs. Buckwalter ($13,202.72). 

I next compared the candidate’s contributorsdid either Kampf or Buckwalter receive $1,000 or more from individuals or companies? Buckwalter – no; actually Buckwalter received no individual contribution greater than $500. Those contributing $1,000 or more to Kampf’s campaign include Paul Olson ($3,500); C.T. Alexander ($1,000); James McErlane, Lamb McErlane Law Firm ($5,000); White & Williams Law Firm ($2,000); Aqua America ($1,000) among others.

How did these 2 candidates spend their money? Statement of expenditures, Schedule III of the Campaign Finance Report indicates the expenses for Kampf and Buckwalter.  Excluding campaign mailers, printing and postage, I looked at all individual campaign expenses of over $500 for each candidate.  The only individual expenses by Buckwalter over $500 was $1,500 on consulting services on two different dates, total of $3,000.  Kampf’s individual expenses exceeding $500 included computer ($630.66); consulting ($3,700); website ($5,550); photocopier ($530); catering ($1,000).

I think that this is an interesting statistical analysis which indicates fundraising and spending patterns of both Republican candidates seeking the PA State Representative position.   It is important that our elected officials are fiscally responsible; have these candidates succeeded in that mission during Primary season? If you are a Republican, you be the judge and cast your vote on Tuesday accordingly.

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  1. Interesting…every company/person listed above that donated to Kampf over $1,000 also contributed to the infamous Holiday Fund Drive.

    Certainly no politics at play here. Go Warren Go!

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  2. If Kampf spent $43K+ on the Primary, I wonder how deep his pockets will be for the November election (if he wins the Primary)? I know that the campaign finance reform bill specifically states that no personal purchases can be made with campaign dollars. I wonder if a computer would qualify as a personal purchase? Doesn’t matter, as I suppose there’s no chance that the bill will pass prior to the election. I wonder what is a typical amount to spend on a contested primary? For a primary, I’m thinking that Ken’s may be closer to the average amount. I know that 2 years ago, both sides spent a bundle but that was for the general election since they didn’t have a contested Primary. Interesting comparison Pattye, thanks.

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  3. I don’t know if there is a “typical” amount in contested primaries because so few seats open up where there are multiple GOPers going after the right to contest the Dem. Other primaries in the southeast have run up t from $75,000 – $100,000 combined.

    This is probably one of the top targets in PA this year considering how close the 2008 General Election was in the end.

    According to all the reports from 2008, close to a million dollars was spent on the 157th General Election: somewhere in $300,000 range by Ciarrochi and somwhere in the $700,000 by Drucker (this is money spent by the campaigns and the big campaign committees in Harrisburg who supported them).

    With that in mind, I don’t know if $60,000-$100,000 is outrageous for the Primary. (I mean, it’s outrageous; maybe “not unexpected” is a better term)

    The only things I read from Pattye’s read of Kampf’s report is:

    1. more of the “establishment” types are behind him than Buckwalter

    2. his campaign may be looking forward past the primary (buying computers, websites, etc. that last past may 18th).

    Finally, I can never believe how so many people comment about “politics” happening in a political campaign. It’s a political campaign for god’s sakes — it’s all about politics

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  4. egalitarianism.. No laws broken.. Everyone equal… health care… as long as everyone gets crappy care, its better than most getting great care and a few not, with the hope they are brought up to speed. How much will Drucker spend in the election? Hope to see that here. seems to me that Warren has alot of support. Will that translate into a victory in November?

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    Anonymous Reply:

    Don’t worry Chet. Warren will probably win Tuesday, but he has a large amount of people that are ready to address his antics before November.

    How’s the sun on Sunset Rd. today?

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    chet Reply:

    sunset road?

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    Chet Reply:

    I hope, ANON, that ALL antics are addressed. Then the guy with the least amount of “antics” will win?

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  5. John
    We all know that technology is a big black box for many, many people. Someone had a turnkey price for a website and it fit in the budget….so go for it. The best websites are built to handle traffic — around here the best website is the one run by the kids at Conestoga for the music program. Please don’t try to make Warren appear clueless because he delegated something to someone that overcharged him…because it cost what it cost depending on who gave him bids.

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  6. Does this mean that the more money you raise (and spend), the greater your chance of success at the polls?

    I live in Phoenixville and my money is riding on Ken Buckwalter. No, Ken isn’t well-connected with wealthy law firms or corporate execs nor is he a fast-talking lawyer. But honest, hard-working, sincere – those are adjectives that describe Ken Buckwalter. A real small business owner who is willing to stand up for principles, that is Ken Buckwalter. Can the same be said about his opponent? I don’t know.

    But I do know with Ken — what you see is what you get — and he is the right person for Harrisburg. (And NO, I don’t work for Ken’s campaign, just another voter in the 157). I want the person I send to Harrisburg to work on my behalf, we deserve that and I believe that Ken Buckwalter will!

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    chet Reply:

    Anon, the answer to your question is, maybe unfortunately yes. happens on both sides of the aisle.

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  7. Hey pattye, how is DRUCKER spending his money? I see some lawn signs for him… anything else? Or is that not fodder for YOUR blog? thanks Chet

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Paul Drucker is the endorsed Democrat candidate for the Primary Election. The purpose of the post is to compare Warren Kampf and Ken Buckwalter – neither of these candidates were endorsed (they were recommended) by the Republican GOP. Therefore, the Primary determine which Republican candidate will run against Drucker in November. Once there is Republican confirmed candidate as a result of Tuesday’s Primary, than there can be comparisons and contrasts between the Democrat vs Republican candidates for the 157. As John Peteresen explained to you, Drucker had nothing to do with this analysis. Remember as an ‘endorsed’ candidate, Drucker has not had to spend money on the Primary.

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    chet Reply:

    I am just wondering how concerned we really are here about fiscal responsibility when the ultimate prize of winning the election will have to be won from the sitting representative.
    Is this blog about fiscal responsibility? about who is the better candidate on the GOP? To defeat Drucker, or lose to him?
    Thanks anyway for the admonition. Thought I was close to the meaning of the thread, if not life itself. Ha!

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    chet Reply:

    Mr Petersen, my question is, non sequitur or not, really should be will Drucker receive the same scrutiny on this blog as kampf? Maybe time wise I am jumping the gun, but how fiscally responsible is Drucker, say in comparison to Buckwalter? Will you promote Buckwalter over Drucker? We know of your distaste for kampf… irresponsible or not, does Kampf have a better chance to beat Drucker than Buckwalter? Is that your ultimate goal? Maybe you think Drucker is unbeatable? If so why? lets look a bit ahead. thanks.

    Mr. Non Sequitur

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    chet Reply:

    When I say ultimate goal, I mean is your goal to gin up support for a Republican who will have less of a shot at beating Drucker.

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    Anonymous Reply:

    He’s being fiscally responsible Chet. He learned that from the greatest politician in the history of Tredyffrin..Warren Kampf.

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  8. Everyone knows that I like Ken. But I have to say, the website charge for Warren is downright silly. At most he should have spent a grand. Also, I think it is important to not that Ken’s site still has way more ACTUAL INFORMATION than Warren’s.

    The fact is, Warren could have run the exact same campaign he is now and done it for half the money. It’s not rocket science. It’s just a matter of taking fiscal responsibility seriously.

    Come general election time it doesn’t really matter. By this, I mean this seat will be hotly contested. Ken has a lot of friends behind the scenes with access to donors that simply did not want to pick a dog in a contested primary. Who? Well, think of all the prominent area Republicans you didn’t hear make an endorsement in this race.

    So Ken will absolutely have the resources and access necessary to win in November, and the fact that he beat Warren in a primary while being outspent 4:1 will speak volumes.

    As for Warren’s attack piece on Ken, I would like to point this out: It isn’t even about Ken’s record. It’s about Ken thinking an impure thought. And not even a crazy one. Rather, it was an idea motivated by the desires to protect Phoenixville taxpayers. Those would be the people that elected him. That this is the best Warren could do should give you a pretty good idea about how essentially unimpeachable Ken’s actual record is.

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  9. Pattye,

    I think you should go back to CCVS and check your facts about the ‘$600 copier’ that appears to be gaining traction to show how ‘fiscally irresponsible’ Warren Kampf is.

    Nowhere in Warren Kampf’s filing is there any copier listed, let alone one for $600 so a correction on this blog is warranted.

    Was this an honest mistake by you? I hope so. Sometimes in the fervor of politics, the truth takes a backseat to ‘win at all costs’ – which is precisely why I would never get into politics.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    To be accurate I did not say ‘$600 copier’ – I stated $530 copier. Kampf’s filing is hand-written and I just re-checked it — on 3/28/10 there is an expenditure to G.K.Visual, 24 Ringneck Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17112 for $530. The description of the expenditure looks like ‘photocopier’ but it could be ‘photographer’; difficult to decipher the handwriting. If you have his filing, please look at the bottom of page 31 and let me know what the expense is. I assure you that the “truth is not taking a backseat to win at all costs” — that’s not my style. The handwriting is difficult to read on this filing – just tell me what the $530 to G.K.Visual is for and I will be glad to correct. (The dollar amount -$530 is accurate). Thank you.

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    In the Middle Reply:

    I do see that entry. It does read ‘Photgrapher’ to me but it is not the clearest so I will grant you that.

    I Googled ‘G.K. Visual’ and it is an ‘award-winning photography and video production company based in Harrisburg, PA’.

    Thanks for your clarification.

    I did not mean to impugn you character in retrospect – sometimes anonymous postings invite one to be more confrontational. I do believe you are sincere in your comments.

    I guess what frustrates me is that clearly you do not support Kampf and while I do respect that, I think you should say so directly.

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  10. Why is pointing things out about Drucker unfair. I thought the purpose of this site was to bring all facts into the light.

    Yes, JP is right: Paul Drucker voted against a personal income tax increase. He did for politics — the Dem caucus had the votes they needed and let him off.

    But he also voted for a budget that spent a billion more than the year before, then left before the vote to supply the money to fund it. To me, that sounds no different than JP’s attacks against Kampf re: the sewer fee vote.

    And, Drucker voted again about two months ago for another budget (for 2010-2011) that raises spending another billion dollars — despite the fact that the budget he supported last year is a billion dollars short.

    Have no doubt — if the Dems can let him off the final budget vote, they will. But he voted for it despite our economic troubles in this state.

    And don’t forget his dumb idea to support tolling 422.

    None of those votes are “fiscally conservative.”

    Finally, Kampf says he has been in office for 6 years and delivered 4 no-tax increase budgets. I don’t think he is hiding the fact he did have two tax increases. John seems to think everyone but him is dumb — most especially Kampf. I think any average person reads 6 years / 4 no-tax budgets can figure out the difference is 2 years with increases.

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    Anon Reply:

    I have been watching this blog and these conversations for quite some time. To the GOP, I think you have to wonder whether the ultimate outcome will be any different if Mr. Kampf wins or loses the primary. It appears that the goal of some is to see Mr. Kampf’s political career end. A May loss ensures that outcome. However, a November loss will as well. It would appear to me, based on what I have read, that many would concede the probability of a Kampf victory on the 18th. It also appears to me that a goal, whether stated or unstated, was to make sure a primary was run. From my vantage point, Kampf looks pretty bloodied up for the Democrats. Mr’s. Lamina and Olson have not helped either.

    Just an observation but it would appear that more than a few bets have been hedged here. If Mr. Kampf does win on the 18th., I cannot imagine that the GOP can be all that optimistic about his chances in November.

    At what price victory?

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    PrimaryVoter Reply:

    As a Republican, I have been disappointed in the leadership of the GOP-led BOS. I am not saying that all negative BOS decisions of late are to be 100% blamed on Warren Kampf, certainly he was helped by the actions of pals Bob Lamina and Paul Olson. But what is that they say, ‘power of association’?

    For Lamina to be so publically demeaning of residents not in agreement with him, and to actually call them ‘gnats’ was an outrageous declaration. The members of the BOS are elected to serve ALL the people, not those in his ‘inner circle’. To that point, I kept making excuses for some of the supervisors actions over the last few months, hoping that it would get better. But it is as if Kampf and Lamina are ‘tied at the hip’ – Kampf would have have gotten my vote if he had stepped up, played the leadership role and publically condoned Lamina’s actions. But to say nothing in defense of the residents of this community they are elected to serve, says to me that Kampf simply ‘doesn’t get it’ anymore than Lamina; that he TOO is satisfised to serve a select group of those that agree with their ideologies.

    This is very sad for me — I have known Kampf and his family for many years, and have been very supportive (financially too!) I can not support Kampf in his bid for Harrisburg – my vote on Tuesday will go to Mr. Buckwalter. Should Kampf prevail in the Primary, my vote in November will shift to Paul Drucker. This is one disappointed Republican resident who will not be supporting the party’s pick for the State House. Kampf needs to know when to stand up for what’s right and what’s wrong!

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    Township Reader Reply:

    Do you change your isp or just your log in?

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    From the West —

    I absolutely think that we should have all sides represented on Community Matters. If you recall, I wrote about Drucker’s support of 422 tolls a few weeks ago. I was not of a fan of the idea. The only reason I thought the focus between now and the Primary needed to be between Kampf and Buckwalter was because the GOP race was contested. After Tuesday, when we have a Republican candidate for the 157, than between now and November’s General Election we can compare/contrast the Dem v Rep candidate. I certainly will be looking at the spending and fundraising habits of Drucker as we go forward. I know the dollars that were spent ($$$$) a couple of years ago on the 157 race, so I going to be very interested in the expenditures in 2010.

    I think it is important for voters to be well-informed and I will do my best to make sure that that all issues are on the table. Experience, community involvement, fiscal responsibility, transparency of government , honesty, et.c — I want it all discussed between now and November. I’m also going to advocate for a debate between the 2 candidates so that we know where each stands.

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    Anon Reply:

    “I certainly will be looking at the spending and fundraising habits of Drucker as we go forward.”

    Pattye, when are you planning on posting on this? Drucker’s financial report has been online for weeks. His donor list looks like a who’s who list of labor unions and special interests…

    I noticed that he actually spent $424.99 on a ‘FAX COPIER’, seems pretty pricey and fiscally irresponsible to me.

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    You are right, now that the Primary is over, I think it would be a good idea to review Rep. Drucker’s expenses. Thank you for reminding me.

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