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Schuylkill County News

Boots Dropping Big Bucks – From Big Donors – to Win Your Vote

$43K for mailers that go right in the trash

Schuylkill County Commissioners Chairman Boots Hetherington has vastly outspent his competitors in the 2023 Primary Election campaign.

According to the latest campaign finance records acquired by The Canary this week, Hetherington has spent $46,847.65 to secure his winning one of the two Republican Party nominations up for grabs in the May 16 election.

That’s almost twice as much as the next closest candidate in spending, Larry Padora. Padora, records show, has spent $25,967 on his campaign.

Mary Jo Moss and Ray Jones are the only other candidates who’ve spent more than $10,000 on their campaigns for election.

Commissioner George Halcovage spent $9,413.13. Jeff Dunkel has put out $3,894.79 and Maria Casey has dropped $3,256.50 on their runs for office.

Dan Evans has spent the least on his campaign at just $1,768.86.

Who’s Funding These Campaigns?

Hetherington has only spent 66% of the money he’s raised or contributed for his campaign so far.

In total, the Commissioner who was installed into office following the untimely death of Frank Staudenmeier in 2020, had $70,800 in his war chest. That’s far and above the next closest candidate, Padora, at $26,898.66

On Tuesday, Hetherington will find out if that money equals votes. But who’s funding his campaign? Establishment Republicans, in short.

First off, most of Hetherington’s donors are big-money donors. Of the amount he’s raised for his campaign, $49,150 has come in the form of donations larger than $250. A little less than $17,000 has come from donations of $250 or fewer.

Here are some of those donors of note:

  • Robert Green: $1,200
  • Frank Schoeneman: $1,000
  • Volunteers for Argall (campaign): $500
  • Tim Twardzik: $500
  • I’m for Watro (campaign): $500
  • Meuser for Congress: $500
  • Where America Started (also donated to Gary Hess campaign): $8,000
  • Stehr for State Rep. (campaign): $500
  • James Barton: $500
  • Craig Morgan: $500
  • Linda Yeich (current Schuylkill County Treasurer): $500
  • Frank Krammes: $1,500

Interesting smaller donors include current County Solicitors Alvin Marshall, who kicked in $200 to Hetherington’s campaign, and Glenn Roth Jr., who gave $150.

The wife of former State Rep. Bob Allen, Margaret, donated $250. Former State Rep. Jerry Knowles threw in $150.

The widow of former County Commissioner Frank Staudenmeier, Kate Staudenmeier, whose purported email to Halcovage was used in an attack on him in a recent social media post from the Schuylkill County Republican Committee, also donated $150 to Hetherington.

And the wife of former one-term Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, Susan, added $200 to Hetherington’s campaign coffer.

The campaigns for row officers Bridget McGowan Miller and Sharyn Yackenchick donated $200 to Hetherington’s campaign, too.

Schuylkill Economic Development Corp. (SEDCO) President Frank Zukas each added $200 more to the Commissioner’s campaign.

How did he spend that money? About $5,200 went toward campaign signs, according to his filing. Hetherington spent more than $7,400 on a fundraising dinner at Tamaqua Station Restaurant, where he was joined by former one-term Gov. Corbett.

Another $43,840 was spent on 4 mailers from his campaign. And he spent $848 on a campaign website. Add in another $8,000 spent on digital ads, too.

Schuylkill County Commissioner 2023 Primary Election Campaign Finances at a Glance

Here’s a quick look at the funds raised and spent by the 8 GOP candidates for Schuylkill County Commissioner in the lead-up to the 2023 Primary Election.

CampaignTotal Funds Raised ($)Total Spent ($)
Friends of George Halcovage24,184.189,413.13
Friends of Mary Jo Moss19,293.3319,293.33
Friends of Ray Jones2,55010,794.49
Friends for Dan Evans5,3501,768.86
Padora for Commissioner26,898.6625,967.00
I Back Boots Hetherington70,800.0046,847.65
Friends of Casey24,622.363,256.50
Bipartisan Cmte. to Elect Dunkel for Commish4,561.643,894.79

Check out the full campaign finance reports from each candidate here.

Let’s look at how the other candidates acquired their campaign funds.

George Halcovage

We do not have historical data on Halcovage’s campaign funds – other than what was allegedly revealed in that attack email earlier this week – but based on his latest campaign finance filing, the current Commissioner did not raise any funds since the beginning of this year.

That doesn’t mean his campaign is broke. Prior to this reporting period, Halcovage had more than $24,000 in his campaign war chest.

The $14.61 added to his coffer since the start of 2023 was from a bank account interest payment.

Larry Padora

Padora, the Tamaqua business owner, has nearly entirely self-funded his campaign for Commissioner. He’s put in a little more than $25,000 of the $26,898 that his campaign has raised.

Harrisburg-based Pioneer PAC and its $500 is the only big-money donor to the Padora campaign.

Maria Casey

All but $4,500 of the $24,058 was funded by Casey for her campaign for the Commissioners office.

That other money came from 2 donors:

  • Fred and Jill Fanelli: $3,000
  • Jeff Parker: $1,500

Jeff Dunkel

All but $500 of the money in Dunkel’s campaign was contributed by the candidate, himself, according to his final pre-election campaign finance report. That money came from 1 donor, Auburn businessman Arthur Barnes.

Mary Jo Moss

Moss has put up more than $15,000 of her own money in her bid for the Commissioners office. She’s accepted several larger donations and a little more than a dozen smaller considerations.

Ray Jones

Jones is another mostly self-funded candidate. He’s taken $1,400 from the New Ringgold-based Better Schuylkill County PAC and a handful of other donations.

More than $8,200 of his campaign money is his own, per Jones’ records.

Dan Evans

Evans has gotten a nearly even split of big and small donations to his campaign. He’s got the second-least amount of money, $5,350, in his coffer among the 8 GOP candidates running in the Primary.

Democrat Fundraising

Here’s a look at the funds raised and spent by the 2 Democrat candidates for Schuylkill County Commissioner in the 2023 Primary Election.

Hess and Baldino are all but assured of winning their party’s nomination and will move on to the General Election in November.

CampaignTotal Funds RaisedTotal Spent
Friends to Elect Gary Hess Commissioner15,342.781,437.30
Friends of Rita Baldino1,125.00950.78
Friends of Hess & Anczarki Baldino Commissioner6,986.001,267.20

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  1. insider

    May 12, 2023 at 10:07 pm

    Saw George’s ad on TV…Hysterical.. Standing proud with another sexual predator asking for your vote…only in America????

    • Canary Commenter

      May 12, 2023 at 11:34 pm

      He appeared in an ad with the Bidens and Clintons??? That seems like an odd move for him.

      • insider

        May 13, 2023 at 9:27 am


  2. PT Floridians

    May 15, 2023 at 8:06 pm

    Bootsie’s fine Corinthian leather jacket gobbled up all his donations. Boss Hogg never looked so schnazzy. What a dud.

    • Canary Commenter

      May 16, 2023 at 9:21 am

      You should see the boots he wears … oh my! Dude, what are THOSE!!!

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