Democrats lead the way in spending for District 23 seat

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PROVIDENCE – Candidates in the race to fill retiring Sen. Paul Fogarty’s District 23 seat reported disparities in funding on campaign finance forms submitted to the Board of Elections 28 days before the September 12 primary.

Both Republicans and Democrats will select a candidate in the contest for the Senate seat representing Glocester, Burrillville and a portion of North Smithfield.

Former Burrillville Town Councilor and Municipal Court Judge Kevin Heitke leads the pack in campaign donations according to his submission, collecting some $3,200 during the period between July 31 and August 15, between contributions from individuals and political action committees, and loan proceeds.

Among Heitke’s campaign contributions was $200 donation from United Nurses and Allied Professionals. His top individual donors included Richard DeMerchant, an attorney who works with the candidate’s Providence-based law firm, who gave $300. He also received $200 from Anthony Cappalli of Cardi Corporation and $200 from Town Councilor Jeremy Bailey.

His opponent, Paul Roselli, president of the Burrillville Land Trust, started the funding period with $1,293 and received around $2,300 from individuals and PACs. Roselli’s contributions included $1,000 from Bonnie Arpin an employee of Johnston-based company AIPSO. The Planned Parenthood of RI PAC gave $500 and the Energize RI Climate Action PAC gave $200. Dawn Cassidy, an employee of SUM Total Systems in Burlington, Mass. gave $250.

On the Republican side, far less money exchanged hands during the same period. Jessica De la cruz reported starting with $98 and collecting $648 between individuals and PACS. Her largest contributor was Bob Morgan of Slatersville who gave $200 and listed his profession as “retired.”

Her opponent, Town Council President John Pacheco started the period with $385 and reported no contributions.

How the candidates spent those funds also varied greatly.

Heitke spent around $700 on advertising in a number of different forums.

Roselli spent the bulk of his funding on services of professional consultant Stephen Rackett totaling $1,200.

De la cruz spent roughly $230 on advertising.

Pacheco spent $1,954 on signs, pens, postcards and palmcards

Fogarty, a Democrat, leaves the seat in November after two decades of service.