Victoria County election contributions reach $183,000 mark

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

Feb. 25, 2014 at 7:02 p.m.
Updated Feb. 25, 2014 at 8:26 p.m.

Less than a week before the March 4 primary election, Victoria County Judge Don Pozzi has out-fundraised his opponent, Ben Zeller, and every other candidate for county office.

In the last round of finance reports due before the primary, the three-term incumbent showed donations of $96,280 throughout his campaign for re-election, while Zeller brought in $19,060.

The 29-year-old Zeller said he is making up the difference with volunteers and shoe-leather campaigning.

"There haven't been any surprises in the fundraising results," Zeller said. "We're running a grassroots campaign; we have more volunteers, and we're working harder and smarter. This isn't about who can spend the most money; it's about who Republican voters trust."

Zeller is partially self-funding his campaign with a $15,000 personal loan. He said that is enough to get his message to the voters.

His opponent does not have any outstanding loans.

Pozzi said his donors prove a record of trust.

"I have a wonderful variety of donors and contributors, various professionals and laborers - it covers the full spectrum - and certainly, I think it shows what those people think of the job that we have been able to accomplish over the past 12 years," Pozzi said.

Whichever candidate wins the primary will go on to represent the Republican Party in the Nov. 4 general election. Ron Reyna is the only Democratic candidate in the primary.

Zeller has tapped into social media to expand his campaign, even including online donations in his fundraising efforts.

He said his campaign has raised more than any opponent Pozzi has faced.

"People see this as a viable campaign," Zeller said. "We're poised to win, and I think people are eager to jump on board."

Throughout the campaign, Zeller has called for a lower tax rate by way of implementing the effective tax rate, which maintains the same tax revenue as the previous year.

In public forums, Zeller spoke about new vision and new leadership.

"At the end of the day, it will be determined by the issues and who Republican voters trust," Zeller said.

Pozzi said his campaign is about experience, leadership, honesty, integrity, trust and his record of fiscal conservatism.

Pozzi has spent $21,647 so far on his campaign, according to the most recent round of finance reports.

He expects that number to triple during this last stretch before the primary.

"Campaigns, I have learned from past experience, are very, very expensive," Pozzi said.

Four years ago, he spent more than $100,000, he said.

"It's very difficult for me to talk about this without sounding like I'm tooting my own horn, and that's not what I'm doing," Pozzi said. "I simply think that it shows that I have a great deal of respect from a very large population."



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