Contest for court seat tops $140,000

By Mike Sever Record-Courier staff writer Published:

Candidates in the hotly-contested race to succeed retiring Judge Perry Dickinson spent a total of $143,081 on their campaigns, with the two top finishers, Pittman and Kane, spending more than half of the total. Both spent more than $40,000.

The two candidates in the second contested judgeship on the Nov. 4 ballot, Judge Donald Martell and Sharon Sabarese, spent a total of $46, 855 in that contest.

Friday was the deadline for candidates on the November ballot to file campaign expense reports.

Kane, who finished second, reported total expenses of $46,767.50 for the campaign, according to campaign expense reports filed with the Portage County Board of Elections. He tallied 7,896 votes, which means he spent $5.92 per vote.

Pittman, who won her judgeship with 12,755 votes, spent $40,843, averaging to $3.20 per vote.

Kane's reports show that he is owed $27,500 on loans he made to his campaign committee. Pittman's committee expense report lists outstanding loans totaling $22,500 from the candidate.

Eugene Muldowney, a criminal prosecutor in the Portage County Prosecutor's Office, who finished third in the contest, spent the least of the five candidates.

Muldowney reported spending $13,910. He won 7,627 votes to finish third, for an average $1.82 per vote. The election committee owes Muldowney $3,951 in loans he made to the campaign.

Francis Ricciardi, chief criminal prosecutor for the Portage County Prosecutor's Office, who finished fourth, spent $22,759 on his campaign. He won 4,895 votes, which averages to $4.64 per vote. Ricciardi forgave $10,750 in loans to his committee. He was repaid $6,583 on a previous loan he had made to his committee.

Louis Bertrand of Hiram, who finished fifth, spent a total of $18,800 for the general election campaign and garnered 4,038 votes, for an average $4.65 per vote.

Judge Donald Martell spent $34,050 to retain the seat to which he was appointed in January.

Martell won 21,558 votes, defeating Sharon Sabareset, who tallied 13,316 votes. She reported spending $12,805 on the campaign.

Martell's expense reports show $26,650 owed on loans he made to his election committee. He also received a $1,700 contribution from the judicial fund of the Portage County Republican Party.

Sabarese got in-kind aid worth $3,386 from the Ohio Democratic Party for printing and mailing campaign literature. She ended the campaign with $4,075 left outstanding from a $5,000 loan she made to her campaign committee.

Judge Barbara Watson, who was unopposed for her municipal court seat, raised no campaign funds and spent none. She tallied 28,505 votes.

In other countywide issues, the committee supporting a replacement levy for the Portage County Health District spent $1,761 on a losing effort.

The "Parks? Yes! Committee" spent $6,229 in a failed effort to support a levy for the Portage County Parks District.

Also filing expense reports were candidates for city, village township and school board races throughout Portage County.

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