2016-11-03 / Local News

Treasurer’s race proves most expensive

Challenger contributes $6,200 to own campaign
By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff

The challenger for the Leelanau County Treasurer spot is the big spender in this year’s election cycle.

Democrat Jennifer L. Zywicki has spent $7,050, compared to incumbent Republican John A. Gallagher III, who has spent $1,681.

The candidates were required to file pre-election campaign finance reports on Friday. Post-election reports are due on Dec. 8.

In all, Zywicki has raised a total of $7,475 in this election cycle, while Gallagher has raised a total $3,953.

But much of Zywicki’s campaign chest — $6,200 — came from herself.

Gallagher has been the county’s treasurer for four years, having defeated incumbent Chelly Roush in 2012.

Most of his campaign money was also contributed by himself — $2,878. Most of his spending has been on newspaper advertising.

But Gallagher did not have to spend any money on election signs, which he saved from his 2012 campaign. He knows how much running for office can cost.

“You have to spend money,” Gallagher said. “You have to get out there in front of people. You want to get your message out to the voters and spend as much time as you can out in the public. And that can get expensive.”

Gallagher said he did not solicit any money for his campaign. Instead he spent time at events, going door to door and calling registered voters. He also used social media to spread his message.

“Overall I feel very confident in how we ran the campaign,” he said. “I feel it was very efficient. I did the best I could with what I had.”

Zywicki, who is the chief staff accountant for Leelanau County, said her biggest expense was in direct mail, as she sent a large postcard out to every household in the county.

“I want to inform the voters that they have a choice this election,” Zywicki said.

She also wants them to know that she has the experience and knowledge to do the job.

“I need to prove to county voters that I’m the right choice on Nov. 8,” she said. “Being the chief staff accountant, I feel like I have to prove that I can be the county treasurer and not just a clerk.”

She knew going into this race that she would likely have to spend a lot of her own money. It’s something she and her husband talked about beforehand.

“The discussion was if I don’t try I’ll never know,” Zywicki said.

The treasurer’s position pays between $60,033 and $65,760.

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