Candidates raise hundreds to thousands to win Sheriff’s race
Republican hopeful Mark Walter is hoping $700 is enough to claim the top law enforcement job in the county. All are running as Republicans.
“I think somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000 is needed to win,” said Borkovich, a retired Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officer. “I hate to say it’s that high, but I’m being honest.”
“My campaign committee has expended approximately $11,000,” said Moore, Suttons Bay Village chief of police who has unsuccessfully run for Sheriff as a Democrat and as a Republican. “I believe my campaign committee is on target.”
“I really couldn’t tell you how much money is needed,” said Walter, a state corrections supervisor in Grand Traverse County and former County Commissioner who also ran unsuccessfully for Sheriff. “I’ve got a low budget.
“I figured I wasn’t going to spend a bunch ($4,000) like I did four years ago. Besides, why would anyone spend $15,000 for a $62,000-a-year-job?”
“I’m going through about a tank of gas every other day which is good for the economy and local gas stations,” Borkovich said.
Borkovich said he has spent another good chunk of money on yard signs, bumper stickers, rack and donation cards and large banners for parades.
Moore, who also said he put up half the money in his campaign fund, said starting his website was a big expenditure, followed by printing and publishing costs.
Walter, who put up all the money in his campaign fund, spent a lot of his money on starting up his treasurer’s account, acquiring a voter’s registration list and printing 400 flyers.
“It comes from the heart.”
None of the candidates are receiving Political Action Committee (PAC) money since there are no Democrats running for the office.
Both Borkovich and Moore said they accept whatever one offers within the rules and regulations.
“There are people who give a lot and people who give a little,” Borkovich said. “It sounds funny, but each donates according to his or her ability to pay.
“When some people give you $10, they are giving it to you from the heart and it really means a lot.”
Candidates are allowed to accept cash under $20. Larger amounts under $100 have to be in a check form, Borkovich said. Anything over $100 up to $500 must also include a lot of personal information.
“When you talk to people that give a lot of money, they generally don’t want to put that information down because it exasperates the situation, especially for the good-hearted benevolent,” Borkovich said.
Walter said he did not have to turn down a donation while on the campaign trail because he hasn’t asked for one.
“The reality is that I’m not asking for money,” Walter said. “If I got some, I’d probably give it back.”
However, Borkovich and Moore did turn back some donations.
Borkovich said he returned a $100 bill offered inside a handshake.
“To me, when you are running for office you have to have your integrity,” Borkovich said. “And if along the way challenges come up, like when someone hands you a large amount of cash, you know they’re not trying to cheat the system.
“You just hand them the contribution form and ask for a check.”
Moore didn’t disclose the number of his rejections or the reasons behind them.
“There have been a few contribution offers I have respectfully declined, but requested their continued support on Aug. 7,” Moore said.
All the Sheriff’s candidates said fundraising was never the focus of the campaign.
“Getting the word out to the voters through news ads and brochures is foremost, by informing the voters they will decide who is Sheriff,” Moore said.
“It has not a been a huge priority with me,” Borkovich said. “I understand the economy we’re in.
“I know people are hurting right now. I’m not asking for money and don’t suggest an amount.”
Moore said about $3,500 he’s received so far have come from business people, retired police officers, close friends, supporters and one County Commissioner.
Moore tabbed Denise Richard, an Elmwood Township resident and school teacher, as his campaign treasurer.
“We kind of picked each other,” Moore said. “Denise takes her daily walks past our house and last summer she became interested in my campaign formulations.
“Both of my youngest children had her as their teacher and I was always impressed with her and her abilities as a teacher. Denise and I have had many conversations about my platform or plans as Sheriff and she is 100 percent supportive. I think she has done a wonderful job!”
Borkovich picked Laura K. Tarsa, a Leelanau County Realtor, as his treasurer.
“I picked an awesome campaign treasurer,”
Borkovich said. “She’s very detail oriented.”
Borkovich carries with him two envelopes, one for expenses and another for donations. He also carries donation forms so he can document each contribution, whether it be money, the taking of a yard sign, a window decal or being a neighborhood captain.
“Depending on their ability, some check one or all four boxes,” he said.
Borkovich also has his wife, Jennifer, as the campaign’s marketing director. She developed the campaign logo.
Walter, who also serves as his own campaign treasurer, said he wouldn’t do both roles if his campaign involved a lot of money.
“If we were handling large donations, I’d probably want someone else to handle that,” Walter said. “But we’re not dealing in the thousands.”
He’s not, but Borkovich and Moore are.