Biggest money in election is for human services levy, Dayton mayor

The Human Services Levy Campaign spent $430,332 in the past four months to support renewal of the $73 million Human Services levy that’s on Montgomery County ballots on Tuesday, campaign finance records show.

The campaign raised $287,949 in that four-month cycle, including a $175,000 donation from the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, according to records from the Montgomery County Board of Elections. That added to the $410,949 balance the campaign brought forward from past cycles.

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Political candidates and issue campaigns must file records of campaign fundraising and spending with their respective boards of election. Montgomery County documents show fundraising was highest for the human services levy, followed by the Dayton mayoral race, where Jeff Mims raised almost $100,000.

No other candidate for city council, mayor, school board or township trustee in Montgomery County raised more than $36,000 in the June-October window.



Human services levy

The human services levy, which is a renewal of taxes that Montgomery County residents already pay, covers a variety of Montgomery County services to elderly and frail residents, abused and neglected children, people with developmental disabilities, the homeless, unemployed workers and people in crisis, including those struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues.

Voters have renewed the county’s human services levies repeatedly since they were first approved decades ago, officials said. About 43% of levy services are provided to citizens in the urban core, while the rest go to residents who live elsewhere in the county.

Of the $287,949 raised by Human Services campaign this cycle, most of it came from large agencies, including the hospital association ($175,000), CareSource ($30,000), University of Dayton ($20,000), the Area Agency on Aging ($15,000), the Dayton Development Coalition ($10,000) and Fifth Third ($10,000).

The Ohio Secretary of State’s office said Political Action Committees organized to support or oppose a ballot issue (rather than a candidate), are not subject to contribution limits.

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Sarah Hackenbracht, president and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, said the $175,000 that the association donated was based on how vital the levy is to the hospitals. She said the donation was a representation of all the Montgomery County area hospitals.

She noted the levy supports key parts of what the hospitals need, including Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County, substance abuse and addiction programs and funding for key vaccine programs, which she said is “absolutely vital.”

“It takes all of us working together to try and address some of those large-scale community issues that can’t be solved by any one organization,” Hackenbracht said.

The campaign’s largest expenses were $208,438 to The Ohlmann Group for television advertisements backing the levy, and over $85,000 to Burges and Burges for consulting and digital advertising.

Mims’ fundraising efforts far outstrips Bowers

Jeff Mims, who is running for Dayton mayor, raised $96,850 this cycle, the most of any candidate in Montgomery County. His opponent for Dayton mayor, Rennes Bowers, raised $17,125.

Mims’ contributions included donations from a who’s who of Dayton and the surrounding area — former Ohio governor Bob Taft, hospital executive Deb Feldman, developers Charlie Simms and George Oberer, plus multiple business leaders, attorneys and current and former political officials, according to board of elections documents.

Mims’ largest contributions this cycle came from the United Food and Commercial workers union ($2,700), plus four donations of $2,500 each from the Montgomery County Black Elected officials group, attorney Doug Mann, attorney John Smalley, and health care executive Kili Preitauer.

Bowers’ largest contributions came from car dealer Steve Van Gorder ($2,500), chiropractor Michael Ewald ($2,500), Kettering resident Anda Tew ($2,000), plus three $1,000 donations from Gregory Quinn, Ralph Thomas and Montgomery County coroner Kent Harshbarger.

Mims spent $68,631 in that cycle, according to campaign finance records, with $29,050 going to the Ohio Democratic Party to pay for mailings.

Bowers spent about $3,900, according to the same records, with $2,768 going for campaign signs.

Other sources

Some campaign spending is harder to track. Educators for Ohio, a federal super PAC linked to teachers unions, has supported some local school board candidates with online advertising this fall. Their campaign finance filings with the Federal Elections Commission have different deadlines, and there has not been a filing since June.

Staff Writer Cornelius Frolik contributed to this report.

The five candidates in Montgomery County who raised the most money this cycle were:

  1. Jeff Mims – Dayton mayoral candidate - $96,850.
  2. Rob Scott – Kettering clerk of courts - $61,127 ($40,500 is listed as a loan from Scott to his campaign).
  3. Terry Posey – Miami Twp. trustee candidate - $36,075 ($30,000 is listed as a loan from Posey to his campaign).
  4. Shenise Turner-Sloss – Dayton commission candidate - $35,515.
  5. Daryl Fairchild – Dayton commission candidate - $31,600.

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