Tale of two cities’ losing candidates

While political eyes are on the March 17 primary and the 2020 general election, let’s look back on last month’s election.

Specifically, I’m focused on two races: Youngstown Municipal Court judge and Warren mayor.

Why those two?

Because a lot of money — almost $200,000 for judicial candidate Martin Hume and close to $120,000 for mayoral candidate Randy Law — went into the campaigns of both of the failed candidates.

Hume, an assistant Mahoning County prosecutor and a former Youngstown law director, raised $64,045 from donors not named Martin Hume — a respectable amount for an election such as this.

In comparison, Renee M. DiSalvo — who won the judicial race and was appointed to an unexpired term Oct. 23, 2018, by then-Gov. John Kasich, a Republican — raised $72,766 from donors. So Hume wasn’t far behind.

However, Hume also loaned $67,500 to his campaign and contributed $66,000 out of his own pocket.

Combined, Hume spent $133,500 of his own money on his unsuccessful campaign for judge. That accounted for 67.6 percent of the $197,545 that was raised for his election effort.

Hume finished in second place, garnering 2,508 votes. Mark A. Hanni came in last in the three-person race.

That translates into $78.77 a vote for Hume, which is an extremely high cost per vote for a Youngstown judicial campaign.

In addition to the $72,766 that

DiSalvo raised from donors, she and her husband, Michael D. Ramun, loaned $45,101 to the campaign and she incurred $11,812 in personal debt.

The total of all of that is $129,679, which is about $4,000 less than the amount Hume personally gave to his campaign.

DiSalvo received 3,313 votes. That is $39.14 a vote, slightly less than half of what it cost Hume.

In the Warren mayor’s race, Law raised and spent no money on his campaign.

Instead, he relied on $119,183 in in-kind contributions to run his unsuccessful effort.

Of that amount, $117,963 came from America’s Tomorrow, a Marietta-based political action committee, with Law chipping in $1,220 out of his personal funds in in-kind contributions.

It’s still unknown who donated to the PAC to fund the failed campaign or their motivation for backing Law, a former longtime Republican who once served as the county party’s chairman, but filed as an independent. The PAC doesn’t have to file a campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission until the end of January.

The money from America’s Tomorrow largely went for radio and television commercials, digital ads and direct mail. His consultants got a $14,000 cut of the money.

Despite all of the in-kind contributions used to flood people’s mailboxes and the airwaves with advertisements, Law received 1,908 votes. That was good for only 32.85 percent of the vote compared to 3,900 votes for incumbent Democrat Doug Franklin.

The in-kind contributions didn’t work.

It translated into $62.46 per vote.

On the other side, Franklin raised $31,045 from contributors and didn’t put any of his own money into the race.

Not only was Franklin the winner, but he did it inexpensively.

It only cost $7.96 a vote. That’s about one-eighth the cost per vote of Law’s campaign.

Apparently money isn’t everything in local politics.

Skolnick covers politics for the Tribune Chronicle and The Vindicator.