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$240K funneled toward 1 Westmoreland court seat

Renatta Signorini
| Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Three candidates for one seat on Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court have mustered nearly $240,000 in the campaign.

Of that total, personal loans from the candidates to their campaigns total $130,000, with Republican attorney Harry Smail Jr., 47, sinking $110,000 of his own money into his run, according to campaign finance reports filed Friday.

Smail of Hempfield and fellow Republican Meagan Bilik DeFazio, 38, of North Huntingdon, along with Democrat William “Bill” McCabe, 57, of North Huntingdon are vying to fill the seat of retiring Judge John Driscoll.

All three candidates are attorneys who have cross-filed to seek the Democratic and Republican nominations in the May 21 primary.

McCabe has raised the most money — $56,670, which includes a $10,000 personal loan to his campaign, according to reports filed with the Pennsylvania Department of State and the county Election Bureau.

McCabe had spent $42,245 between Jan. 20 and May 6, his campaign reports indicate.

His contributions include $1,000 from the Western Pennsylvania Laborers PAC in Pittsburgh, the Harrisburg-based AFL-CIO Labor PAC, $300 from People Interested in Truth PAC in Greensburg, $250 from the Committee for Kopas (the committee for county Commissioner Ted Kopas), $200 from People for Pedicone Committee (the committee for former county controller Carmen Pedicone) and $100 from the Felstein Grinberg Stein & McKee PAC of Pittsburgh, according to the McCabe committee reports.

Other contributions listed include $1,000 each from attorneys Margaret A. Tremba and Caroline M. Roberto, $1,250 from attorney Ned Nakles Jr., and $1,000 from Penn Township businessman Daniel Wukich. The reports list $10,000 in expenditures with West Media for billboards, nail files and printing.

McCabe's report lists $24,424 in cash on hand. Smail has more than twice as much cash on hand, $53,114, while Bilik DeFazio lists about $19,000 cash on hand, according to campaign finance reports filed with the state.

Bilik DeFazio has raised $53,490, including a $10,000 personal loan to her campaign. She filed two reports for the first five months of the year. Between Jan. 20 to April 1, her campaign raised $31,920 and spent $14,534.

Her campaign brought forward a balance of $17,385 for the April 2 to May 6 reporting period, during which time she took in $21,570 in contributions and spent $19,941, according to reports.

Bilik DeFazio's contributions include $1,000 from Western Pennsylvania Laborers PAC in Pittsburgh and $500 each from Friends of Mike Reese, Local 66 PAC Club and Pittsburgh-based Dickie McCamey & Chilcote PAC, according to reports.

Contributions include $3,500 from Barbara Trout of Youngwood, $2,000 from Kimberly Firestone of Pleasant Unity and $1,000 each from Stephen J. Fedell of Wexford, Michele E. Knupp of Ligonier, Richard Knupp of Ligonier, John E. Framel of Freeport and James R. Tartal of Scottdale, according to the reports.

Smail's campaign has raised a total of $119,575, including the $110,000 personal loan.

Between Jan. 20 and May 6, his campaign has spent $66,460, according to reports.

A $100 contribution came from the Meyer Darragh Buckler Bebenek & Eck, Greensburg PAC Fund, along with $500 contributions each from Charles Arrotti of Scottdale, Paul Kraisinger of Mt. Pleasant and Charles Gallo of Ligonier, the reports said. They list $25,000 in expenses with Studio 2 Advertising in Greensburg.

Bilik DeFazio and Smail lost bids for judge four years ago. McCabe is making his first run for the bench.

Staff writer Kari Andren contributed. Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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