GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - The six Rockford area lawyers seeking to replace retiring 63rd District Judge Steven Servaas have spent more than $139,000 ahead of the Aug. 5 primary election.
They're spending money on billboards, consultants, coffee mugs, T-shirts - even a $36 tab for parade candy.
The Lion's share has been spent on campaign signs. Rockford City Hall got so fed up with all the signs in right-of-ways, it had city workers head out two weeks ago to remove them. They returned with a pickup load.
Why all the interest? The 2014 election is the first time in more than 40 years Servaas isn't on the ballot. In all but a handful of years, he's run uncontested.
The four men and two women vying to replace him are doing what they can to get in front of voters in the northern half of Kent County.The first division of 63rd District Court covers Kent County north of Four Mile Road with 12 townships and six cities, including Rockford and Cedar Springs.
The biggest spender is Rockford attorney Jeffrey O'Hara. He's shelled out more than $46,000, including a billboard along U.S. 131, according to campaign finance reports. O'Hara was the first candidate to file a campaign spending report, which were due today.
Compare that with just $2,000 spent by Charles Boekeloo. The former Rockford School Board member has been practicing law in Michigan longer than any of the other candidates.
Cedar Springs attorney Rock Wood has the biggest war chest, with more than $9,600 on hand. Andrea Crumback is in the hole by more than $23,000, spending reports show.
The top two vote-getters in the Aug. 5 primary advance to the general election in November.
Servaas announced earlier this year he will not seek re-election for the job he's held since the Nixon administration. He is Michigan's longest serving judge.
BY THE NUMBERS
Campaign spending through July 25, 2014
Candidate contributions, expenditures, fund balance
- Charles Boekeloo $3,254; $2,003; $1,251
- Brent Boncher $27,009; $26,568; $440
- Andrea Crumback $13,035; $36,325; $23,290; (deficit)
- Jody E. Jernigan $4,900; $2,892; $2,007
- Jeffrey O'Hara $48,830; $46,250; $2,079
- Rock Wood $35,125; $25,480; $9,664
Source: State of Michigan Elections Division