After refusing to file her campaign-finance report for a week, Sandy Moser, a Republican candidate for Chester County commissioner, complied with election law yesterday.
Moser said she worried that the county's top Republicans would retaliate against her donors. She is running against the party's two endorsed candidates in Tuesday's primary.
"I initially delayed filing my report to protect those who donated to my campaign from being pressured or punished by the leadership of the Republican Party of Chester County," she said in a statement.
Moser, who came under criticism for ignoring the law, added: "However, I now realize that it is more important to make my campaign totally open for review to the residents of Chester County."
Joseph E. "Skip" Brion, the head of the county Republican Party, said called Moser's rationale was " about as ludicrous a statement as I've ever heard in politics. The Republican committee is not going to do anything to anyone."
County election officials said Moser, 64, of East Brandywine Township, would be fined $200 for missing the finance-report deadline.
Dissension between Moser and the Republican Party leadership dates back to the commissioners' race four years ago, when Moser also ran unendorsed and criticized what she called the county's lack of commitment to open space.
This year, she is running against the endorsed candidates, Commissioner Carol Aichele, 57, of Tredyffrin Township, and Terence Farrell, 59, of Lincoln University, who is in his second term as recorder of deeds.
Aichele, who began with almost $70,000 from previous races, recorded one donation of $25 for the reporting period from Jan. 1 to April 30. Earlier this week, she added a $10,000 donation from Robert D. McNeil, owner of Penguin Industries, a holding company based in Coatesville.
Farrell got $5,000 from SE Realtors, a Malvern-based political action committee, and a total of $2,500 from three principals of the Herr potato-chip company. He has raised about $11,000.
Moser, president of Pennsylvania Republicans for Environmental Protection, has raised about $22,000, including $5,000 from George Strawbridge Jr. of the department-store family and $1,000 from Mary Alice Malone, a Campbell Soup heiress.
The three Republicans are vying for two spots on the Nov. 6 general election ballot, and will face off against the top two Democrats for three commissioner seats.
The Democratic candidates are Kathi Cozzone, 44, a financial analyst from Uwchlan Township; Ken Knickerbocker, 51, a software company executive and president of the Parkesburg Borough Council; Virginia McMichael, 50, a lawyer and East Whiteland supervisor; and Bill Scott, 62, a lawyer and former West Chester councilman.
According to campaign-finance reports, McMichael has raised $54,408, much of it from law firms, including about $11,000 of her own money.
She is followed by Knickerbocker, who has added $29,876 to $5,000 from a previous campaign. That includes $10,000 from McNeil.
Scott's report shows him with $25,000, with $11,000 of that out of his own pocket. Cozzone reports about $11,000, with $1,000 from her last race and $2,150 from herself.