2020 Bloomington city council: Out with the old, in with the new

At the last city council meeting of the year, on Dec. 18, 2019, Bloomington’s mayor, John Hamilton, delivered proclamations to the four outgoing councilmembers.

On Jan. 1, 2020, four new councilmembers were sworn in to start four-year terms, along with the five returning councilmembers, the mayor, John Hamilton, and the city clerk, Nicole Bolden.

Starting around noon on New Year’s Day in the city council chambers, the oaths of office for Bloomington’s 11 elected officials were administered. Continue reading “2020 Bloomington city council: Out with the old, in with the new”

Sgambelluri takes city council District 2 over Guenther by 26-point margin

Spirits were high Tuesday night at Monroe County Democratic Party headquarters on Madison Street. Both Democrats in the only contested races for Bloomington’s municipal elections hand just won seats on the city council in 2020. Ron Smith won a three-way race in District 3.

Sue Sgambelluri won her race in District 2 against Republican Party nominee Andrew Guenther. She received 365 votes (63 percent) to Guenther’s 218 (37 percent). That included a plurality for Sgambelluri in each of the district’s six precincts, among early voters and Election Day voters alike.

The closest tally inside the district was the one-vote margin in Bloomington 14 precinct among Election Day voters—Guenther had 19 votes compared to Sgambelluri’s 20. Continue reading “Sgambelluri takes city council District 2 over Guenther by 26-point margin”

Campaign finance injects interest in Bloomington’s District 2 city council race

In late August, at a Democratic Party caucus, District 2 Bloomington city council candidate Sue Sgambelluri offered the gathering her thoughts on Democrat Marty Spechler’s run for the District 3 seat as an independent: “First, I want to congratulate District 3 on having replaced District 2 as the most interesting race this year. Well done!”

As a matter of politically piquant interest, the Democratic Party’s internal kerfuffle in District 3 has now been eclipsed by the campaign finance reports filed last week by Republican Andrew Guenther, who is Sgambelluri’s opponent in District 2. Guenther’s level and sources of financial support have led to official statements on behalf of both their political parties. Continue reading “Campaign finance injects interest in Bloomington’s District 2 city council race”

Bloomington city council campaign filings: Party support means Republican candidate enjoys 20-to-1 funding advantage over Democrat

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The banner for early voting hangs at Election Central at 7th and Madison streets in downtown Bloomington. Early voting starts Oct. 21. The deadline for filing campaign finance reports for the period ending Oct. 11 was last Friday at noon. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

Friday at noon was the deadline for pre-election campaign finance filings in Bloomington’s city council races. Election Day is Nov. 5.

The campaign finance forms filed for Bloomington’s District 3 city council race by were pretty much politics as usual.

One District 3 candidate, independent Marty Spechler, didn’t file the paperwork by the deadline, which is not smiled upon by election officials, but is not all that uncommon. The other two District 3 candidates, Democrat Ron Smith and independent Nick Kappas, together raised in the neighborhood of $3,000.

But the way that sum was divided between the independent and the Democrat was maybe a little unusual for Bloomington’s political culture, which is mostly dominated by Democrats. The $2,350 in itemized contributions collected by Kappas for the filing period was more than twice as much as the $973.22 shown on Smith’s paperwork.

Definitely unusual was the  nearly 20-to-1 funding gap between Republican Andrew Guenther and Democrat Sue Sgambelluri in District 2.  Guenther’s contributions totaled $37,375, compared to $1,919.70 for Sgambelluri. That includes $8,000 for Guenther reported separately as a large donation, after the reporting period ended.

The largest part of contributions to Guenther’s campaign, including the separately reported $8,000, came from the Monroe County Republican Party. Added to the $22,500 donated to Guenther by the party since the reporting period started (on April 13), it would bring Guenther’s Republican Party total to $30,500.

The Republican Party’s filing shows that of its  $31,790 in itemized contributions, $30,000 came from a single donor, Doug Horn.

On Nov. 5 this year, city council Districts 2 and 3 are the only districts where elections are being held. Elections are not being held in Bloomington’s other four districts because the county election board cancelled them, because none of the races were contested there, and no citywide races were contested. Continue reading “Bloomington city council campaign filings: Party support means Republican candidate enjoys 20-to-1 funding advantage over Democrat”