Campaign finance reports: Pozzi garners almost $41,000 more than Ocker

Gabe Semenza

Oct. 16, 2010 at 5:16 a.m.

Don Pozzi

Don Pozzi

In the race for Victoria County judge, one candidate stands as the clear frontrunner - at least in campaign contributions.

Incumbent Democratic County Judge Don Pozzi solicited $40,745 in contributions during the latest reporting period. His opponent, Republican Matt Ocker, reports $53.

Counting only contributions from July 1 to Sept. 23 - the latest reporting period - Pozzi garnered 769 times as much money as Ocker did.

The incumbent said successful campaigns require money, and plenty of it. The challenger said he would have turned down some of the money his opponent accepted.

Pozzi, the two-term incumbent, said his massive donor list suggests he's doing a good job.

"I think it means I have a lot of friends and a lot of support in this community, and all are very interested in county government and what's best for Victoria County," Pozzi said. "I am very happy to have their support. I certainly think it represents the thinking in the community."

Pozzi's contributions ranged from less than $25 and up to $2,500. In all, 131 people contributed to his campaign.

From Jan. 1 to June 30, the previous reporting period, Pozzi reported $8,450 in contributions.

"The obvious advantage of money is certainly being able to advertise and get my name out there," Pozzi said. "It certainly makes someone feel proud to have that wide range of support and that many contributors, both large and small. Every single one is important."

Of Ocker's $53 in contributions, Pozzi said: "If a candidate is able to raise money, I'm sure they would."

Ocker, however, said he avoided soliciting contributions because he is uncomfortable doing so.

"I could have raised a lot more funds than I have, but to be honest with you, the toughest thing for me is asking people for money," Ocker said. "I can take the slings and arrows, standing in front of a crowd, getting scrutinized and called an idiot. Asking for money has been the most difficult thing in seeking public office."

Ocker's contributor list from the latest reporting period remains nameless. Because his $53 came from multiple contributions of less than $50, according to his report, he by law does not have to name donors.

During the previous reporting period - Jan. 1 to June 30 - Ocker reported contributions of $500 from Mark Moore and $100 from Morgan Dunn O'Connor, both of Victoria. He also listed an $8,000 loan to his campaign from himself.

"Any time you look at campaign contributions, people are going to draw their own conclusions," Ocker said. "There are lot of people (Pozzi) took money from that I wouldn't have. I don't think it's proper to take contributions from large contractors that do business with the county."

During previous reporting periods, Pozzi's record shows he accepted money from the owner of businesses such as Krueger Construction, a company awarded many bids by the county.

"I'm not saying that's a complete indication of wrongdoing or malfeasance," Ocker said. "That's just not a question I think is worth raising."

Pozzi defended his acceptance of donations.

"If you will look at those reports, I have contributions both large and small," the county judge said. "As I have said before, it matters not to me whether people contribute to my campaign or not. If they expect anything in return, I don't want it."

James Gleason, a former Victoria College government professor, said the cavern between Pozzi's and Ocker's contributions surprised him.

"I would have expected it to be a little closer," Gleason said. "I'm not sure how it will affect this election, but it obviously costs money to get your slogan and message out there."

The General Election is Nov. 2.



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