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Dean Vakas outraises all other City Council candidates in general election

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Dean Vakas

Dean Vakas has raised nearly twice as much money in the general election cycle as his opponent in the race for an at-large seat on the Olathe City Council, according to newly filed reports.

Vakas raised $29,903 between July 23 and Oct. 21, campaign finance reports show. His opponent, Kevin Gilmore, raised $13,782 in the same time period.

Vakas' fundraising success began in the primary, when he outraised all other candidates for the City Council 10 times over. Combined with his $35,263 raised in the primary election, he has thus far raised a collective $65,163 in the 2021 municipal election cycle.

The next highest dollar fundraiser in the City Council elections was Ward 3 candidate LeEtta Felter, who raised roughly $15,500 in the general election cycle.

“I think it reflects a high level of enthusiasm for Dean in our community. I think it shows that we have just a broad spectrum of support from people who want to invest in good governance,” Claire Reagan, treasurer and manager for Vakas’ campaign, said. “I think that just the diversity of amounts, the diversity of individuals just shows a lot of will for some change.” 

BIG NAMES WHO DONATED TO VAKAS 

Some current office holders and some office seekers donated to Vakas’ campaign. He also received some donations from political action committees. In all, Vakas reported hundreds of unique donors. 

District 1 county commissioner Becky Fast donated $70 to the campaign. Rep. Linda Featherston, a Democrat from Overland Park, donated $25. Cynthia Yin, Jodi Carter and Amy Milakovic, Democratic Committeewomen in Overland Park, donated $15, $25 and $12 respectively. Jennifer Day, a former Democratic state representative from Overland Park’s District 48, donated $50. Democratic Committeewomen in Olathe Laila Adsero, Theresa Sahhar, Amy Diediker, Julia Willhite, Meg Schimmels and Jennifer Sanderson gave $50, $45, $250, $135, $75 and $100 respectively. Democratic Committeewomen for Lenexa Gayle Asher and Lori Slettehaugh gave $25 and $50 respectively. 

DeAnn Mitchell, who ran as a Democrat for the Kansas House District 26 and lost in 2018, donated $125. Michael Shimeal, a Democrat who ran for the Kansas House District 26 seat in 2020 and lost, and his wife Carol donated $300.Wendy Budetti, a Democratic candidate for the Kansas Senate who lost in 2020 against incumbent Robert Olson in District 23, donated $150. Kathy Meyer, who challenged Olathe Republican and Kansas House Speaker Ron Ryckman in 2020 but lost in District 78, gave $15. Katie Dixon, a Democrat who ran in 2020 against Megan Lynn for the District 49 Kansas House seat and lost, donated $100. 

Vakas accepted $100 from the Johnson County Democratic Women North Caucus Fund and an additional $330 from the Johnson County Democratic Women South chapter. 

He also collected $500 from the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors, a Leawood-based political action committee, and an additional $500 the Laborers Local Union #1290. The Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City’s PAC, located across the state line, gave $500. He received an additional $500 from the Kansas Area Council of the Home Builders Association PAC. 

Village Pointe Properties, LLC, and Townhomes at the Reserve, LLC, which share a PO Box in Olathe, donated $500 apiece. Manning Construction also gave the Vakas campaign $250. Overland Park-based Haven Investment, LLC, donated $500. Lenexa-based OCS, LLC, gave $500. Ridgeview Lot 6, LLC, and Cedar Creek Equities, LLC, both donated $500 apiece to the campaign. 

Additionally, Brian Rodrock, the homebuilder, donated $500. His company Rodrock Homes, LLC, also gave $500. Jeff Gifford, the COO of Rodrock Homes, LLC, and his wife Diana also donated $500. Jeff Reglin, the CMO of Rodrock Homes, LLC, and his wife Lori donated $500. Phelps Engineering donated $300. Michael Berenbom, a managing partner at Lane4 Property Group, gave $250. 

In the primary election, Vakas received a collective $500 from Member 3 Olathe Board of Education candidate Julie Steele. Greg Orman, who ran for governor in Kansas in 2018, also donated $500 in the primary. Sybil Orman, his wife, donated an additional $500. Stacy Knoell, who ran as a Democrat for Kansas Senate District 9 and lost in 2020, gave $100 ahead of the August election. 

Also during the primary election, Brad Boyd, who currently represents District 2 on the USD 233 Board of Education, donated a total of $53 across two installments. Joe Beveridge, school board president and at-large representative, gave $100. Fast donated $25. Brandon Woodard, who represents the 30th Kansas House District, donated $125. 

BIG NAMES WHO DONATED TO GILMORE 

In the general election, Gilmore raised a total of $13,782. Combined with his reported primary election fundraising of $3,689, he brought in more than $17,000 in the entire election cycle. 

In the primary, Gilmore drew most of his financial support from current office holders and their spouses with a few exceptions. Specifically, Karin Brownlee, current at-large representative, and her husband Doug Brownlee each donated $250 to the campaign. Melanie Bacon, wife of Mayor John Bacon, donated $500. Ronald Wilson, an Olathe Republican Committeeman, donated $100. Stephanie James, who ran for the Member 3 seat in the Blue Valley school district and lost in 2019, donated $100.

During the general election fundraising cycle, Gilmore had just shy of 40 unique donors. 

Robert Montgomery, a former Republican state representative in the Kansas House Districts 26 and 15, gave Gilmore $450 in two installments. Kansas Sen. Robert Olson, an Olathe Republican, also donated $100. 

Stan Holm, the president and CEO of Olathe Health, donated $250. Tim Harmon, the CEO of Harmon Construction Inc., donated $200. Planned Stewardship, LLC, donated $500 to the Gilmore campaign. Kansas City, Missouri-based HNTB Holdings, Ltd., donated $250. 

Rodrock and Associates Realtors, LLC, gave $500. Jeff Gifford, the COO of Rodrock Homes, LLC, also donated $500. Brian Rodrock, the homebuilder, gave $500 to the campaign.

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