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County GOP touts fundraising

– Local political parties filed their annual campaign finance reports Monday, with Republicans raising and spending about double their Democratic counterparts.

The Allen County Republican Central Committee began 2013 with about $9,000 on hand, then raised an additional $113,000.

The party spent about $115,000, leaving it with $7,117 on hand as of Dec. 31.

The Allen County Democratic Party, meanwhile, began the year with about $7,000, then raised about $56,000 throughout the year. Party officials spent about $43,000, leaving $20,253 for 2014.

“It was an outstanding year,” Republican Party Chairman Steve Shine said. “Anytime you have a county organization raise in the six figures in a non-election year, that shows the strength of that political party. It was a very, very good year.”

Democratic Party Chairman John Court was also pleased with his party’s fundraising.

“We’re by no means the wealthiest party, but at the same time it’s a nice improvement,” Court said. “We’re going to focus on raising money, so hopefully we don’t have that boom-and-bust, lean-and-full cycle.”

Shine said the difference in fundraising shows the strength of the Republican organization.

“It shows people are interested and supportive of what we do, regardless of whether there’s an election that year,” Shine said. “It takes money to run a strong organization.”

Court said much of the difference comes from Democrats having more supporters who can only afford to give a little.

“It goes back to the mantra of the Democratic Party,” he said. “There’s a seat at the table for everybody, and that’s true in our donors, as well.”

Shine said other indications of the GOP’s strength include its dominance of the county and township elections set for this year, which feature a dearth of Democratic candidates, even in high-profile races, and the party’s hosting of the state Republican Convention this summer.

“You look at our fundraising, our candidates, our energy, our primary ballot, our office holders – you put all that together and you have what I’m proud to say is the state’s premier political organization,” Shine said.

Though both parties were proud of the amount they raised, each reported smaller amounts than they brought in in 2012.

Republican receipts were down 27 percent from the $154,183 raised the year before, while the Democrats took in 22 percent less than the $72,219 they raised in 2012.

The Libertarian Party of Allen County reported raising and spending $72 in 2013, leaving it with $840 on hand.