Scrima's significant fundraising not enough to beat Reilly

Published on: 2/25/2014

While there was low attendance for the Waukesha primaries — 10 percent of eligible voters — plenty of money was spent on it over the last several months.

But last week's mayoral and city attorney primaries showed that a candidate doesn't have to raise the most money to win a race.

According to the last campaign finance report filed before the primary election, downtown attorney Shawn Reilly trailed Mayor Jeff Scrima by $3,000 in money raised.

However, Reilly topped Scrima to win the primary. Both are advancing to the general election April 1.

Meanwhile, the latest report showed that local attorney Christopher Wiesmueller raised the most money in the city attorney primary by more than $3,000 over his opponents. But Wiesmueller finished third and did not advance to that general election.

"That is interesting," Reilly said about the top spenders not winning their elections. "I think for me, people are looking at my experience of working with municipalities and are choosing someone who has a broad sense of knowledge right when they step into the job."

Scrima's contributors

In the last report, Scrima's "Scrima for Mayor" campaign received contributions of $17,736.42 in just more than a month.

The mayor raised $100 during the first period, which ended Dec. 31, 2013, mainly because he waited until just a few days before that date to announce his candidacy.

Scrima put $536.30 of his own money into his campaign, but he had many big contributors.

These include Plan Commissioner Kevin Larson and his wife, Sherry ($700 each); Taylor's Peoples Park owners Jim and Susan Taylor ($700 each); Waukesha Iron & Metal owner Larry Erlich and his wife, Michelle ($700 each), who live in Mequon; retiree Phil Lee ($700); Scott Ludtke, owner of Liberty Web Marketing ($700); Terry and Kerry Mackay, owners of The Steaming Cup ($700 each); Gerald and Judith Couri, owner of Couri Insurance ($700 each); philanthropists Anthony and Andrea Bryant ($500 each); Randy and Nathan McPherson of Mander Collision in Waukesha ($500 each); Carrie Igielski, owner of Allo! Chocolat ($348.07); Dan Taylor, owner of Peoples Park ($260.65); Gary Lato, a consultant with Eternity Investors LLC ($201.40); Peter Davis, president and chief executive officer of Gaco Western ($200); Anselmo Villarreal, president and CEO of La Casa de Esperanza ($250); Carol Fekete, a retired registered nurse ($250); Patrick Donahue, vice president of Wilde Automotive in Waukesha ($200); Brad Sebena, self-employed in Brookfield ($200); and Frank Bielinski, a home builder in Pewaukee ($200).

Big spender

Scrima also spent the most since the beginning of the year ($8,098.78). He spent $3,519 with Conley Media (Waukesha Freeman) and $939.32 with Journal Communications.

"We've fundraised more than any candidate in a fraction of the time," Scrima said. "The dozens and dozens of people, prominent people I'm thankful for their donations and support."

Reilly has plenty of support

Reilly, who was the first candidate to announce his candidacy last summer, raised most of his money during the first period.

He received $14,889 overall, but just $900 during the second reporting period.

Among his big contributors during the first period were Gerald and Judith Couri (707.18 each); Milwaukee School of Engineering Network architect Paul Fabian and Lori Fabian, attorney at Hippenmeyer, Reilly, Moodie & Blum, ($707 each); Bill and Joanne Huelsman ($700 each); Margaret Reilly ($700); Village of Menomonee Falls attorney Michael Morse ($700); Catherine Jessel-Huelsman ($700); Victoria and Thomas Hekkers, renovation specialists for West End Development Group LLC, ($500 each); Joette and Jeff Barta of Nice Ash Cigar Bar ($500 each); Eric Larson, attorney at Arenz, Molter, Macy, Riffle & Larson, ($500); Michael Killey, operations manager at Kohler Pit Inc. in New Berlin, ($500); Joe Albanese, owner of Albanese's Roadhouse in Waukesha, ($500); Karalewitz for Waukesha County Clerk in Dousman ($395.69); Michael Bolan, owner of Eagle Springs Golf Resort ($350); Mark Blum, attorney at Hippenmeyer, Reilly, Moodie & Blum, ($300); Charles Heyer, Land Title Services in Wauwatosa, ($250); Kristin Reilly, president of Prairie Financial Group in Waukesha, ($250); Thomas Schmitzer Sr., attorney at Hippenmeyer, Reilly, Moodie & Blum, ($200); and Mary Jo Dunn, an appraiser in Brookfield, ($200).

Reilly has also received support from former Waukesha Mayor Paul Vrakas.

"I'm humbled by the support I received," Reilly said. "It makes me feel honored that people believe in me to be the next mayor, and actually after the last report, which was Feb. 3 there's been a significant amount of new donors to my campaign."

While Scrima's campaign spent more than $8,000 on advertising and more, Reilly spent $2,707.06 ($1,540.58 of which was after Jan. 1).

The biggest expense — $1,317.75 — was on signs.

Reilly's cash balance after the second period is $12,281.99, while Scrima has $9,737.64.

City attorney race

In the city attorney race, Wiesmueller's campaign, "Friends of Wiesmueller," received contributions of $5,425.49 from Jan. 1-Feb. 2. Wiesmueller, himself, put in about 88 percent of that ($4,771.99).

He also spent much of his own money on expenses, which totaled $4,183.37. His money didn't pay off, as he finished behind former Waukesha Circuit Court Judge Rick Congdon and local attorney Brian Running.

Congdon received contributions worth $2,270 but spent $1,866.61, for a remaining cash balance of $403.39.

Running, meanwhile, has more money to work with, as he still has a cash balance of $1,276.02. In this period he received contributions of $2,016 and spent $1,966.22. He had a cash balance of $1,226.54 during the first period.