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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Financial limits prove difficult

You need sixty billboards and seven mailings to your constituents to win an election.

These billboard were not available because of financial limits for Ben Konop, the democrat candidate in the 2004 election for the 4th Congressional District. Konop blames money, not his political platform for his defeat.

His opponent, Mike Oxley won the election many feel by unfair campaign finances. Oxley had donations from businesses and banks mostly outside his district said Konop. While Konop out raised Oxley 13 to one overall, he out raised him in the district five to one.

Lee Mclaird, curator of rare books and special collections at the University, said limitations need to be made on how much can be donated to a campaign. She suggests only those who are registered voters in the district should be able to contribute to a candidate in that district.

A discussion was held at the Maumee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Bowling Green to debate the need for campaign finance reform. About 30 people attended last night’s gathering to discuss why money needs to stop buying elections. Konop led the debate explaining what it was like to run against someone who had more financial support.

“Regardless of your instincts if you are a candidate trying to raise money it will corrupt you to some degree, it corrupted me,” Konop said. “If I had 15 missed calls I found myself calling back those who were most likely to donate first.”

No matter how much candidates try not to be influenced by financial donations, they really have no choice but to chase after it if they want to win.

“Money is like water in politics, you will always need it,” Konop said.

When special interest groups and businesses contribute to a campaign, they expect to receive some privileges with donations Konop said. These contributions play a big part in who politicians are representing when they are in office.

Contributions play a huge role in who the politicians are representing.

If a politician is receiving money from a corporation outside their district he questions how good the citizens will be represented.

“Money corrupts politics,” Mclaird said.

A solution offered by Konop was to make a debate mandatory and broadcast on the major networks. Another solution would be to end gerrymandering, which redraws districts in a candidates favor.

By ending gerrymandering, clear-cut divisions of districts would be put in place so that competitiveness drives elections, not district lines.

Robin Weirauch, democrat candidate for the 5th district in the U.S. house, said these clear-cut divisions would help citizens know which district they are in, instead of wondering every-other year if they have been moved to a different district.

“The safety of the district should not be on how the lines are drawn, but on how well the politician is doing their job,” Weirauch said.

The example of winning an election in Bowling Green was brought up by Allen Baldwin, consortium leader at Great Lakes Consortium.

If a candidate wants to send out a piece of mail to all 13,365 democrats in Bowling Green, it would cost them close to $3,000. Baldwin said it takes more than one piece of mail to influence a voters decision, which many candidates can’t afford.

“It takes 3.7 times for a voter to see something for it to break the horizon of their conscience,” Baldwin said.




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