Northern District commission candidates raise more than $70,000

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 | 9:58 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Candidates running in the Democratic primary for Northern District commissioner have raised more than $50,000 altogether. Janet Thompson, a newcomer to local politics, has raised the most for her campaign.

The winner of the Democratic primary will run against either Lance Robbins or Don Bormann, the candidates in the Republican primary. Bormann and Robbins have raised about $10,000 each, with Robbins having raised nearly $1,000 more.

On the map

Contributions to candidates for the Northern District seat on the Boone County Commission come from far and wide. A map showing where contributions to Republican candidates is available here, and a map of contributions to Democratic candidates here.

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The primary election is set for Aug. 7. The contribution amounts reported for each candidate include monetary donations and in-kind contributions for the period through July 26 as well as other contributions of more than $250 as of July 31.

Janet Thompson (D)

  • Receipt total: $25,937.38
  • Loans: $1,000

Thompson, a public defender, raised the most of any of the Northern District commission candidates. She received contributions from several public employees and many attorneys. More than $6,000 came from contributions of $100 or less.

Columbia attorney Jim Rutter, who contributed $250, said he knows Thompson personally from church and professionally as a lawyer. He said his support is based on her principles aligning with his own rather than personal loyalty.

“Whether I know her personally has very little to do with it,” Rutter said. “She is skilled at bringing people to the table and trying to work out an agreement that makes everyone better off.”

He said Thompson's training as a mediator – she has an advanced law degree in alternative dispute resolution – would be useful in government. Todd Werts, an attorney with Lear Werts, LLP, also said he thinks Thompson’s training as a lawyer would be helpful in solving problems.

“I think highly of Janet, she’s an intelligent woman,” Werts said. “I think it’s important to have intelligent people in government.”

Werts said that he’s known Thompson for several years and that she’s friends with his wife. But she also was the first candidate to contact him.

“That’s probably the single largest factor,” Werts said. “None of the other candidates have reached out to me.”

Judy Wood, a nurse practitioner at Columbia College, said that she has known Thompson for many years and that the candidate has mentored her daughter, who is a lawyer.

"I know her to be a very giving and intelligent person," Wood said. "Boone County is very near and dear to her heart."

Wood and her husband, Don, contributed a total of $150 to Thompson's campaign.

Thompson has hired Progressive Political Partners, LLC, the political consulting firm that helped three current council members run successful campaigns in 2011.

"I had never even dabbled in politics," Thompson said, explaining why she hired the company for help.

"Unfortunately, the campaign costs way too much money," she said. "I asked friends and relatives if they would contribute, and they were very generous and did."

Her mother, Marjorie Thompson, contributed $5,220 to Janet Thompson’s campaign.

A report filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission on July 28 reported a $5,000 contribution from Ian and Donna Thompson of San Antonio, Texas. Ian is Janet Thompson's brother.

Missouri law requires that contributions of $250 or more received after the close of the previous reporting period and 11 days prior to the election be reported within 24 hours.

Darin Fugit (D)

  • Receipt total: $17,650
  • Loans: $5,000

Fugit, a former deputy clerk with Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren, filed to run on Feb. 28, the first day a candidate could do so. He began raising money then, receiving $7,575 in contributions in March, according to documents filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Anne Clark, a Columbia retiree, said she’s a friend of Fugit’s family and thinks he’s the best qualified, especially because of his experience on the Boone County Planning and Zoning Commission.

“Darin is eminently qualified for this job,” Clark said. “I think he’s really well suited to talk about where we’re going as a county as we continue to grow.”

Clark also said that because Fugit has spent time farming, he understands both the rural and urban aspects of Boone County.

In April, May and June, Fugit raised $3,975. The majority, $2,550, came from a campaign event held May 14 at The Bridge in Columbia.

Fugit received about $6,000 in contributions from other local Democratic candidates and members of the Boone County Democratic Central Committee. His mother, Phyllis Fugit, is chairwoman of the committee and contributed $5,000.

Committee treasurer Kay Callison; Peg Miller, Columbia Fifth Ward committeewoman; John Wright, candidate for the 47th District House seat; and Boone County Public Administrator Cathy Richards all donated to Fugit’s campaign.

Miller, who contributed a total of $250, said she has known Fugit for several years and supports him because of his wide range of experience and his knowledge of Boone County.

“He’s pretty much a straight shooter,” Miller said. “I just think he’s someone who will be very thoughtful and who will really listen to people.”

Local Democratic activist Bruce Wilson, who was chosen as a citizen adviser by Gov. Jay Nixon in 2008, and his wife, Nancy Wilson, donated a total of $750.

Fugit’s late wife, Jan Fugit, was Boone County treasurer. He received a total of $2,250 from the family of Julia Hunn, Jan Fugit’s sister, who lives in Festus. Fugit also received contributions from relatives on his mother’s side: $750 from Monte, Donald, Connie and Dea Hoover.

"Basically candidates get money from family and friends," Fugit said. "Everybody on my list is either family or close friends."

O.J. Stone (D)

  • Receipt total: $8,085
  • Loans: $100

A former Boone County deputy sheriff, Stone filed to run on March 5. He has received several contributions from people in law enforcement and homeland security.

Paul Fennewald, former Missouri Homeland Security coordinator, donated $1,000. Stone worked for the Missouri Office of Homeland Security for five years before he resigned to campaign for the commission seat. 

Chuck Wilson, a Columbia insurance agent who has worked at the sheriff's department as a reserve officer, said he supported Stone because of his experience working with county budgets at the sheriff's department and his work in homeland security.

"Both of those things would be a good background for county government," Wilson said.

Warren Brewer, chief jailer at the Boone County Sheriff's Department, also said Stone's experience in law enforcement is a major reason he supports him. Brewer also worked with the candidate for many years at the department.

"I know him to be honest and hardworking and diligent," Brewer said. "I'm in agreement with the principles he's put forward in his campaign."

Brewer, who donated $250, said he also supports Stone because of his emphasis on fiscal issues as the county faces tough choices on balancing the budget.

"I think he would be one of the best if not the best person to steward county government into that kind of fiscal conservatism," Brewer said.

Doris Stone, O.J. Stone's mother, contributed $2,000.

Shelly Dometrorch, owner of Hoops Unlimited and a Boone County Fire Protection District board member, contributed $100. Stone’s committee has paid more than $1,500 to Hoops Unlimited, an embroidery company, for advertising.

Other contributions of $100 or less accounted for $1,785 of Stone’s fundraising total.

Brian Dollar (D)

  • Receipt total: $1,300
  • Loans: $1,140.46

Dollar was the last to file for the race before the March deadline. He used a credit card to purchase signs for $1,140.46, a loan to his campaign for which he is liable. He also donated $600 to his campaign and his father, Bob Dollar, contributed $500.

Lance Robbins (R)

  • Receipt total: $10,284.95
  • Loans: $0

Robbins began campaigning in October 2011. He received $2,000 in 2011 from the Bourgeois family, which owns Les Bourgeois Winery and Vineyards. Robbins has worked there and said he is a friend of the family.

Several contributions came from employees at the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, where Robbins has worked for 15 years and is a sergeant.

Robbins also received contributions from businesses including Tactical Specialties, John L. McGee Real Estate and Development, Industrial and Petroleum Environmental Services, and Mid-City Lumber Co.

Todd Burke, owner of Tactical Specialties and a police instructor, has known Robbins for more than 15 years. He was an instructor at the police academy Robbins attended.

Burke said he supports Robbins because he knows and trusts him.

“He’s a person of integrity,” Burke said. “He doesn’t play games, and he’s honest. I recommend everybody take a look at his background.”

Robbins has also received contributions from relatives, totaling about $500.

Colleen Wegener said she and her husband, Les Wegener, who contributed $250, know Robbins through the Boy Scouts of America. Robbins is an adult leader for a troop in Hallsville.

“We think he’ll do a good job because he’ll try hard,” Wegener said.

Less than $2,000 of total receipts for Robbins came from donations of $100 or less.

Don Bormann (R)

  • Receipt total: $9,361
  • Loans: $0

Bormann began raising money after he announced his intent to run in November 2011. He raised almost $2,500 in 2011. Nearly $6,000 of his total monetary contributions came from donations of $100 or less. His mother, Louise Bormann, has contributed $1,000.

Bormann, a Centralia Alderman, received many contributions from Centralia residents. The treasurer of his campaign committee, Boyd Harris, is an appraiser in Centralia. He said he supports Bormann because of his experience as a surveyor and a small business owner.

“When you look at the candidates that are involved, Don brings the practical experience,” Harris said. “Balancing the budget, the finances of the county, and roads and bridges are what people look for in county government.”

Charles Hardin, a resident of Boone County who lives near Hallsville, said he knows Bormann from working with him several years ago. Hardin owns W&L Steel Erectors and Catfish Corner restaurant.

“I think somebody ought to know something about surveying,” Hardin said. “That’s part of the ballgame.”

Hardin said Bormann has experience with a lot of the issues the commission deals with.

The Missouri Society of Professional Surveyors PAC contributed $300 to Bormann, who is a member of the organization.

Mid-City Lumber, which donated to Robbins' campaign, also contributed to Bormann. Forrest Chevrolet, Mead Livestock Services and Angell and Co., a real estate company in Centralia, also donated.

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