October 23, 2019

MARATHON — Three candidates out of six are self-financing their campaigns for Marathon City Council, using personal funds for election fees and advertising materials. The other three candidates have varying levels of community support.

Mayor John Bartus financed his $300 in expenditures for campaign outreach with his own money and encouraged would-be financial supporters to instead write checks to their favorite local charities. He was set to schmooze at a final meet-and-greet Wednesday, Oct. 23, in conjunction with a Monroe County Commission candidate, Mike Forster, at a gathering hosted by the owners of Sparky’s Landing in Marathon.

“We’ll have fun, discuss the issues and enjoy some Sparky’s hospitality,” Bartus said.

Incumbent Steven Cook ponied up $5,000 of his own funds and bought promotional items such as custom logo pens, stickers and stamps for a mailer. A Marathon resident since 2003, Cook said he “really hadn’t planned to run for re-election. But something kept at me. … It’s the service. Serving this town, working as a team through thick and thin, easy times and tough ones.”

Second-time candidate John Kissick, a pool contractor, said he was self-financing his campaign because he did not “want to owe or perceive to owe anyone any favors. I think there is something wrong when a candidate has to raise $10,000 or $20,000 to win a local election. It shouldn’t cost more than $5,000. It’s just a waste of money.”

First-time candidate Eugene Gilson III, store manager of the Bealls outlet, has lived in Marathon four years. He had raised $600, according to the most recent campaign finance report, and spent about $220 on election fees. His contributors include solar sales representative Wendy Knutson, Capt. James Knutson, attorney Thomas Wright, 3rd Generation Plumbing, all of Marathon, and Modine Aviation of West Melbourne, Fla.

Adam Geaneas, a political newcomer and Marathon’s former fire marshal, had raised $10,900 and received an in-kind contribution from the Promotions Guy for social media service. His $3,606 in expenditures, as of the latest finance report, include postcards, stickers, social media ads and sign materials. His contributors include James and Kay Stewart and Bruce Schmitt, all of Key Colony Beach, and Nancy and Richard Stewart of Seymour, Ind., at the $1,000 level; and Jessica Borraccino, Denise Holland, A.J. Morganelli, Morganelli Associates, and Southwest Insulation Inc. at the $500 level. Smaller donations also contributed to his campaign.

Incumbent Dan Zieg rounds out the race for council with the most funds raised at $11,655, according to the latest report. His $1,000 contributors included local Realtor Joann Cook and Marathon Aviation. Zieg’s $500 contributors are Diane Clavier, Greg Coldiron, Lindsay Leonard, Mike Leonard, Jane Packard, Thea Ramsay, Jim Rifkin, all of Marathon. A $500 “in-kind” contributor was printer Jim Hogue for signs.

Zieg’s expenditures included pens, newspaper advertising, and television interviews and videos.

Marathon’s early voting started Oct. 21 and concludes Nov. 1. Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Supervisor of Elections office at 10015 Overseas Hwy. in Marathon. Election day voting takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, at various precincts in Marathon.

jzima@keysnews.com