DA race: Sen. Wagner erases Eshbach's cash lead over Sunday

Jason Addy
  • Campaign finance reports show Jonelle Harter Eshbach outraised and outspent Dave Sunday between Jan. 1 and May 1.
  • Eshbach significantly outraised Sunday over the first four months of 2017, but a $22,000 contribution to Sunday from Sen. Scott Wagner leveled the playing field.

With the 2017 primary season winding to a close, both candidates for York County district attorney have amassed substantial funds to spend in the final stretch of their campaigns.

As of May 1, Jonelle Harter Eshbach’s campaign committee had $26,811 in cash to spend over the final two weeks of the race, while Dave Sunday’s campaign committee was sitting on $16,976, according to campaign finance reports that cover fundraising and spending from Jan. 1 to May 1.

York County District Attorney candidate Jonelle Eshbach, center, speaks during a debate with fellow Republican candidate Dave Sunday, front, while moderator and York Rotary Club Chair Mike Summers looks on during the York Rotary Club meeting at Country Club of York in Spring Garden Township, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

However, a $22,000 contribution on May 2 from state Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden, swung the cash advantage to Sunday, leaving him with nearly $39,000 to spend before Tuesday's primary.

All contributions of $500 or more made after the final pre-election filing deadline must be reported within 24 hours of receipt, said Nikki Suchanic, director of voting and elections for York County.

Wagner’s contribution included a $15,000 donation and a $7,000 loan to Sunday’s campaign, the reports show.

Eshbach and Sunday are facing off May 16 for the Republican Party’s nomination for district attorney.

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The winner of the Republican primary will almost certainly replace Tom Kearney as district attorney, as no Democrats are seeking the office.

Eshbach, an attorney at Eveler & DeArment, raised 67 percent more money than Sunday, a chief deputy prosecutor in the district attorney’s office, from Jan. 1 to May 1, and still edged him in the fundraising stakes after Wagner’s contribution.

Campaign records show Eshbach brought in $60,542, while Sunday had a fundraising haul of $58,284.

The records show Eshbach also spent more than Sunday from Jan. 1 to May 1 — $35,882 to $27,278.

Familiar names: Suchanic confirmed there are no contribution limits for local races.

A third of the money Eshbach raised came from four donors, including a $10,000 check written by Northampton County resident Bill Hynes, who serves as CEO of York City-based Think Loud Development.

Eshbach’s campaign also received $5,000 from former Shipley Energy CEO Bill Shipley, as well as $2,500 donations from Constance Wolf, vice president of York Container, and Mark Stanley, an attorney at the McNees, Wallace & Nurick law firm, the reports show.

Sixteen people donated at least $1,000 to Eshbach’s campaign, while 123 people donated $100 or more.

Eshbach’s campaign also received in-kind contributions — donations other than money — valued at $6,344, including two billboards worth $4,000 donated by personal injury attorney Steve Stambaugh, the reports show.

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Wagner’s $22,000 cash injection, along with a separate $2,666 donation from the state senator, represented more than 40 percent of Sunday’s total fundraising in the first four months of the year.

Aside from Wagner, Sunday picked up contributions of at least $1,000 from 10 people, including $2,500 from John Giambalvo of the Jack Giambalvo Motor Co.; $2,000 each from Scott Hartman, president and CEO of Rutter’s; and Pushpananda Senaratne, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and $1,750 from Kinsley Construction CEO Robert Kinsley, the reports show.

Ninety-six people donated at least $100 to Sunday between Jan. 1 and May 1, the reports show.

Alliances: The donors portion of the candidates’ fundraising and spending reports shows that many of those seeking office Tuesday, and others already in office, were active in the district attorney's race.

Sunday found financial backing from James Mann, candidate for the Court of Common Pleas; Lindy Sweeney, candidate for the Shrewsbury-area magisterial district judge seat; Bonner Smith, candidate for York County controller; and Laura Shue, candidate for York County recorder of deeds, according to campaign finance reports.

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State representatives Kristin Philips-Hill, Kate Klunk and Seth Grove donated $250 each to Sunday, while incumbent district attorney Tom Kearney donated $210 to his colleague, the reports show.

Meanwhile, Eshbach picked up support from York County judicial candidate Matt Menges and York County Commissioner Chris Reilly’s campaign committee. The White Rose Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, York City's police union, donated $1,000 to Eshbach, while York City Police Chief Wes Kahley donated $150, the reports show.

State Sen. Mike Regan’s campaign committee gave to both campaigns, contributing $500 to Sunday and $75 to Eshbach.

Campaign expenses: Eshbach outspent Sunday by more than $8,500 in the first four months of 2017.

She paid out more than $23,500 for political consulting services from Harrisburg-based firms Ignite Strategies and MJM Strategies, the reports show.

Her second biggest expense was reimbursing herself for $5,702, after purchasing yard signs and labels from Capitol Promotions.

Eshbach spent $2,500 on three campaign events, as well as $2,376 for outdoor billboards, the reports show.

Sunday’s biggest expense came in the form of campaign literature and mailings. Sunday paid $7,375 over the course of the four months for printing and design services by the Nefra Communications Center, the reports show.

Sunday’s campaign paid out $5,404 for yard signs, wrote checks totaling $2,750 for outdoor billboards and spent $2,660 on postage and stamps, according to campaign finance reports.

His campaign also spent $2,250 to cover its share of catering services for campaign events held in conjunction with York County Coroner Pam Gay, the reports show.

Sunday made personal payments totaling $2,874 for online advertisements to appear on Facebook since the start of the year, according to the reports.

As of May 1, Sunday’s campaign had $8,700 in unpaid debts after Wagner’s $7,000 loan and a personal loan of $1,700 from Sunday to his campaign.

Eshbach’s reports indicate her campaign must still repay her $1,500 to cover personal loans she made.