Shaker outspends all in judicial race

NILES — The only attorney not accepting campaign contributions in the Democratic primary race to be the next Niles Municipal Court judge outspent his three competitors combined by more than double, according to campaign finance reports filed at the Trumbull County Board of Elections.

The reports were due Thursday and cover spending for the May 2 race from Jan. 1 to April 12.

Gil Blair, John Gargano and Terry Swauger each spent under $9,000, while Chris Shaker, who is only spending his own money in the race, spent $55,407. Shaker loaned himself $55,000 during this reporting period, and carried $25,000 in loans over from the last reporting period.

Blair accepted $10,820 in contributions and spent $8,890. Gargano spent about half of the $16,100 in contributions he accepted. Swauger spent and received the least amount, shelling out $7,650 of the $10,700 he received.

All of the men spent the majority of the cash on advertising — including signs and newspaper advertisements. Shaker drained more than $30,000 with 2 Ticks and the Dog Productions for a television ad, and more than $7,000 at City Printing. Shaker spent more on signs, T-shirts, hats and other campaign paraphernalia.

Vernon’s Cafe raked in $2,600 from Shaker and $2,900 from Swauger, where both men threw fundraisers.

Blair, a Weathersfield trustee and Warren assistant prosecutor, accepted 119 contributions, for an average of about $90 each. Blair accepted $2,000 from his father, Matthew Blair of Lantern Lane in Niles, and $500 from Ethel Zucco of Main Street in Mineral Ridge.

Gargano, on unpaid leave from his position as director of the Trumbull County Department of Job and Family Services, accepted 159 contributions, for an average of $100 each. Gargano’s family members, all of Summit Avenue in Niles, made the largest donations — Pete Gargano gave $2,000, Michelina Gargano gave $1,000 and Loren Gargano gave $800.

Swauger, Niles law director and prosecutor, accepted 77 contributions, for an average of $140 each time. Swauger’s largest contributions came from law firms or people living outside of the municipal court’s jurisdiction — Rumizen and Weisman on Prospect Avenue in Cleveland gave $1,000, David and Mari-Lee Yeropoli of Center Street West in Warren gave $600 each, and Ciano and Goldwasser on Prospect Avenue in Cleveland gave $500.

Gargano, who loaned his campaign $5,200, has the most money left to work with in the last 11 days before the election — $13,162, while Swauger, who loaned his campaign $1,000, has $4,051. Shaker has $2,993 left and Blair has $1,929.

The court covers misedemeanor criminal, traffic and civil cases in Niles, McDonald and Weathersfield.