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January 12, 2013

GOP tops Democrats in local campaign funding

(Continued)

NEW CASTLE — OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS

In addition to the in-kind money, Vogel received several large contributions from within his party, which included $50,000 from the Friends of Dominic Pileggi and $10,000 from the Friends of Ted Erickson committees. Pileggi is Senate majority leader and Erickson is a senator from Delaware County.

Villella also received $10,000 from the Citizens for Hughes committee and $6,500 from the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee. Hughes is a senator from Philadelphia.

Villella said her race was targeted by the Democratic State Committee.

“It’s always been a Democratic seat,” she said.

“Their resources were endless in this election cycle,” she said of the Republican party. “And I think that impacted the results.”

She noted she was the only Senate candidate in the state who ran against an incumbent.

DEMOCRATIC VIEW

Aren Platt, executive director of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, said Democrats were outspent by Republicans 3 to 1 in Senate races statewide. Despite the spending disparity, he noted, the Democrats picked up three Senate seats. Republicans now have an edge of 27-23 in the Senate.

He said the spending for Vogel was “on the high end, but not unusual.”

Calling Villella a good candidate, Platt said, “The money spent on Villella was very well spent.”

The in-kind contributions for Vogel pale in comparison to what he received in 2008 from the party: $874,127.

“It was a new race and a tossup between two people,” Vogel said of his first contest, which had no incumbents.

Of the party’s contributions, he said, “Campaigns are expensive.”

He added that he, like other GOP senators, contribute to the Senate campaign committee and the money is then spent throughout the state. He estimated he contributed approximately $250,000 from his campaign fund to the committee last year.

“They (the party) decide where it gets spent.”

Of his party, See said, “They’re going to put the money in the races they think are most winnable.”

The North Sewickley Township resident said he didn’t receive party support in his first bid for the 10th District seat in 2010.

However, the closeness of that race “is why I got support” this time, he said.

Gibbons won the first race against See by less than 900 votes. In the November election, Gibbons won by more than 1,400 votes.

Sainato said the Republican party targeted several House races in western Pennsylvania, including his.

“I’ve never seen this much money spent,” said Sainato, who has been in the House since 1995.

“I was happy with my vote numbers considering how much money was spent. Money is important, but it’s not everything.”

Attempts to reach the Republican state committees and Murtha were unsuccessful.

(Email: jmanna@ncnewsonline.com)

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