NEENAH – Political activities in the Neenah mayoral race intensified during January, with each candidate raising and spending at least $2,400.
Brian Borchardt raised $4,268 and spent $3,971 during the month, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday with the city clerk’s office. Combined with the December reports, he raised $9,077 and spent $4,258 on his election bid.
Kelly Behrmann raised $3,895 during January, including $1,200 of her own money. The total also included a $1,000 donation from Brian Gottlieb of Appleton that was refunded because it exceeded the legal limit.
The maximum an individual can donate for citywide office in Neenah is $546.58, which is the product of the city’s population (27,329) multiplied by two cents. The limit doesn’t apply to candidates who contribute to their own campaign.
Combining December and January, Behrmann raised $4,305 and spent $2,809, including the refund to Gottlieb.
Jane Lang raised $2,590 in January, after filing for an exemption from reporting in December. She started the reporting period with $1,671, bringing her total to $4,261. She listed $3,231 in expenses in January./
The primary election for the nonpartisan mayoral race will be held Feb. 15. The top two candidates will advance to the April 5 general election.
Incumbent Dean Kaufert didn’t seek reelection after eight years in office.
For information about registering to vote and polling locations, visit the MyVote Wisconsin website at myvote.wi.gov/en-us.
League of Women Voters forum
During a Jan. 27 League of Women Voters forum, Lang, Borchardt and Behrmann sought to distinguish themselves as the best candidate for mayor.
Lang, a fifth-generation, lifelong Neenah resident, highlighted her experience, including 10 years as executive director of the Neenah Historical Society and eight years on the Common Council.
“The key point is I’ve served,” Lang said. “I’m not a professional politician, nor would I ever want to be. I have been your citizen representative, and I’ve been working for you. I’m not seeking fame, I’m not seeking glory, and I’m not running for mayor for any other reason beyond that I want to continue to make a positive impact on Neenah.”
Borchardt, a Neenah teacher and council member, touted his role on the board of directors of Verve, A Credit Union, which has $1.5 billion in assets.
“I understand the importance of being a good steward of people’s money,” he said.
Borchardt promoted the development of a Neenah smartphone app to pay bills, contact elected officials or provide reminders for refuse and recycling pickups.
Behrmann has no political experience but called attention to her ability to overcome struggle. She described herself as “a child left behind” and said she has experienced homelessness and hunger, “learning early that in order to make something of myself would be because of me and nobody else — improvise, adapt and overcome.”
“A formal secondary education, I do not have,” Behrmann continued. “My education has come from on-the-job training and self-teaching.”
Borchardt and Lang said they would take guidance from the Winnebago County Health Department concerning the coronavirus pandemic. Neenah no longer has its own health department.
“I’d rather take the information from those people that are in charge of public health than somebody who has a feeling or a hunch or a conspiracy theory that this right or this is wrong,” Borchardt said.
Lang said she would consult not only the county but also local medical experts in Neenah.
“On day one,” she said, “I would be stepping in as your mayor with the ability to listen and understand and rely upon the advice of our local experts because I already have those relationships established.”
Behrmann opposed any mask or vaccine mandates. “These are health decisions that should be made by individuals and local businesses, not a government entity,” she said.
Borchardt’s campaign contributors
Borchardt’s campaign donations in January and December came from 49 people, including 19 who contributed $200 or more.
- Jeff Borchardt, New Berlin, $500
- Michelle Clark, Maineville, Ohio, $500
- Jeff Clark, Maineville, Ohio, $500
- Dan Vandaalwyk, Neenah, $300
- Jane Borchardt, New Berlin, $250
- Amy James, Neenah, $250
- John Klein, Oak Creek, $250
- Danelle Marquardt, Neenah, $250
- Matthew Longmore, Neenah, $200
- Scott Thompson, Neenah, $200
- Brian Borchardt, Neenah, $500
- Lori Borchardt, Neenah, $500
- Dale Clark, Neenah, $500
- Frank Kearny, Neenah, $500
- Phillip Kerwin, Neenah, $500
- Craig Zivkovich, Truckee, California, $500
- Dorothy Zivkovich, The Villages, Florida, $500
- Craig Wienkes, Appleton, $300
- Brandon Roth, Neenah, $200
Borchardt’s top expenses in January were $1,368 for printing and mailing, $1,157 for lawn signs, $545 for advertising and $500 for consulting services.
Behrmann’s campaign contributors
Behrmann’s campaign donations in January and December came from 11 people, including seven who contributed $200 or more.
- Kelly Behrmann, Neenah, $1,200
- Brian Gottlieb, Appleton, $1,000 (refunded)
- Scott Behrmann, Neenah, $500
- Brian Gottlieb, Appleton, $500
- Chris Fiedler, Kaukauna, $250
- Tiffani Behrmann, Appleton, $200
- Tyler Behrmann, Neenah, $200
- Mike Mohr, Menasha, $300
Behrmann’s top expenses in January were the $1,000 refund to Gottlieb and $945 for campaign signs.
Lang’s campaign contributors
Lang wasn’t required to report her campaign income and expenses for December because she filed for an exemption, but she disclosed the information Tuesday at the request of The Post-Crescent.
She recorded $1,700 in donations and $29 in expenses for the month.
Her donations in January and December came from 14 people, including 10 who contributed $200 or more.
- Mame Heaney, Neenah, $500
- Fred Lang, Neenah, $500
- Jane Lang, Neenah, $500
- Elizabeth Krizenesky, Neenah, $400
- Tom Sutter, Appleton, $250
- Eileen McCoy, Neenah, $200
- John Bergstrom, Neenah, $500
- Suzanne Deitrich, Neenah, $500
- Theodore Galloway, Neenah, $500
- Lisa Kunz, Waverly, Minnesota, $200
Lang’s top expenditures in January were $1,600 for a digital media package and $1,089 for lawn signs.