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Nixon leads York County commissioner race donations, spending


York County commissioner hopeful Henry Nixon out-raised and out-spent the four other candidates in the latest campaign finance reporting cycle

The 67-year-old Democrat's committee, Nixon for County Commissioner, had $6,365 on hand from the previous cycle, which ended in June, but raised $98,374 and spent $61,736 in the most recent cycle, according to reports filed with York County's elections office.

But the nearly $100,000 raised may not be enough to get two Democrats — Nixon and popular incumbent Doug Hoke — elected, because York County has a strong GOP base, said G. Terry Madonna, a pollster at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster.

"If anything, you could reach the conclusion that there could be a change in the minority (Democratic) commissioner," he said. "Democrats are not going to win both."

The finance reports were due Friday. All three seats on the board are open.

Other candidates: Nixon gave a combined $25,000 to his campaign in two separate donations — $5,000 and $20,000. He also received $9,250 from Hoke, the report says.

Hoke, 65, had $1,042 on hand at the start of the cycle but raised $26,950 and spent $24,050, according to the report for his committee, Doug Hoke for Commissioner.

His campaign also is padded by a $25,000 loan he gave the committee during his successful election bid in 2007.

Hoke was his campaign's largest donor, giving it $6,000 this time around. He also collected a combined $5,000 from members of the Kinsley family, known for their construction businesses, the report shows.

Incumbent Republican commissioner Chris Reilly, 53, raised and spent the least during the time period. Reilly's campaign carried over $3,204 from the previous cycle, raised $14,300 and spent $6,694, according to the Friends of Chris Reilly's finance report.

Challenger Susan Byrnes, 64, a health activist who's a Republican, had $36,052 on hand at the start of the cycle and raised $14,350, bringing her total cash available to $50,402. Her campaign, York Countians for Susan Byrnes, spent just under $30,000 during the four-month reporting cycle.

Byrnes' committee provided a copy of the report to The York Dispatch because the original was mailed to the elections office and wasn't available Friday.

Nothing raised: Incumbent Steve Chronister, 62, said he didn't file a report because he didn't raise or spend any money during the reporting cycle.

That's an about-face from a statement he made in March when he withdrew from the GOP ballot to become an independent, after his nomination petition was challenged before the primary. At the time, he promised to hit the pavement, raising money and campaigning for a fourth term.

"I've campaigned for 12 years and if they (voters) don't know me by now ..." Chronister said on Monday, noting voters should know him and his stances already.

Though Chronister didn't raise or spend any money, his committee must still file a report.

"They should still file a zero report," said Sally Kohlbus, the assistant director of the county elections office.

A candidate or committee can be hit with a $10 daily fine for not filing a report by the deadline.

"For this cycle, everyone has to file even if it's zero," said Wanda Murren, spokeswoman with the Department of State.

Shared support: Wealthy retired businessman and philanthropist Louis Appell gave $5,000 each and Gov. Tom Wolf's father, Bill Wolf, gave $1,000 each to Hoke, Nixon and Byrnes, the reports show.

Nixon, a York City councilman, received financial support within the city limits. Mayor Kim Bracey and Adrienne Brenner, wife of former mayor John Brenner, each gave $100.

Nixon's largest donor was William Shipley, CEO of Shipley Energy, who gave $10,000, according to the report.

Reilly and Byrnes each received $500 from the political action committee Patriots for Perry, which is associated with U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Dillsburg.

The municipal election is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

In 2016, when those elected commissioner take office, the president commissioner will make $89,730 annually, and the other two commissioners will be paid $86,525 each.

— Reach Greg Gross at

Follow the money

Here's a glimpse of how commissioners campaigns spent money during the campaign finance reporting cycle ending Friday.

Doug Hoke, Democrat:

•$24,050: York Mail Service for "presort mail postage"

Henry Nixon, Democrat:

•$18,500: Global Strategy Group for campaign polling

•$18,992: Convergence Consulting Group for mailings

•$7,000: Brandon Burg for campaign management and consulting

•$10,000: Convergence Consulting Group for consulting

Chris Reilly, Republican:

•$4,800: McLaughlin & Associates for polling

•$1,000: CNR for consulting

Susan Byrnes, Republican:

•$3,451: Central Pa. Newspaper for advertisement

•$310: Unique Apparel for shirts

•$2,843: Superior Business Solutions for letterhead and note pads

•$3,253: NeFra for postcard/mailer

Steve Chronister, independent:

•Didn't spend any money during the latest reporting cycle.

Source: Campaign finance reports

To view the campaign finance reports, go to the York County elections and voter registration office in the basement of the county's administration building, 28 E. Market St. in York City.