NEW CASTLE —
Pennsylvania Republicans spared no expense when it came to state legislative races last year.
Although Democrats spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in targeted contests, the Republican party outspent them.
According to campaign expense reports filed in Harrisburg, the state Republican party and House and Senate campaign committees spent a total of $685,397 through in-kind contributions in three Lawrence County districts alone.
Their Democratic counterparts spent $136,274 on those races.
The in-kind contributions are funds the parties spent on behalf of the candidates. The candidates do not see any of the money, but they must report it on their campaign expense reports.
A great deal of the money was spent on fliers that flooded voters’ mailboxes in the fall campaign.
The largest amount spent by both parties locally was on the 47th senatorial district race between Republican Sen. Elder Vogel and Kimberly Villella, his Democratic challenger.
New Sewickley Township resident Vogel won re-election to a second term, receiving 57 percent of the vote.
He received a total of $399,132 from the Pennsylvania Republican Party and the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, all in-kind contributions used for fliers and media buys.
Villella, a resident of Baden, received in-kind contributions of $111,145 from the Pennsylvania Democratic Party for fliers.
The money in both cases does not include funds raised and spent by the candidates themselves.
In the 9th District House race, Jason Murtha of Enon Valley received in-kind contributions of $151,728 from the state Republican party and House Republican Campaign Committee for mailers and media buys.
Murtha also received a $5,000 contribution from Friends of Mike Turzai. Turzai is House majority leader.
In sharp contrast, state Rep. Chris Sainato received in-kind contributions totaling $12,700 from the state Democratic party for mailers.
Sainato won re-election to his 10th term by receiving 58 percent of the vote.
Michael See, the GOP candidate in the 10th District House race, received in-kind contributions of $134,536 from the state party and the House campaign committee and used it for fliers and media buys.
His Democratic opponent, state Rep. Jaret Gibbons of Franklin Township, received in-kind contributions of $12,428 from the state party and it was used for fliers. Gibbons was re-elected to his fourth term, receiving 53 percent of the vote.