Citizens will cast their votes for the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board Chairman Tuesday, ending a campaign that saw a signs put up and a slew of mailers sent out over the last month.
The race, pitting incumbent against , involves campaign contributions that come from Mehlville, Maryland Heights and even as far as Washington D.C.
The organization Mike for Mehlville Fire reported raising $26,305 from Feb. 1 to March 24 for Klund’s campaign. Donations came primarily from the International Association of Fire Fighters in Washington D.C., which gave $14,700 in three payments, and the Mehlville Fire Fighters Local 1889, which gave $6,000.
Former fire board chairman Thomas O’Driscoll also donated $500 for Klund, and local firefighter unions from Maryland Heights and Fenton gave $300 and $500 respectively.
Mike for Mehlville Fire reports spending $14,022.76. Printing and literature design from two companies charged Klund $10,490.39. $2,690 was spent on advertising, and $750 went to a fundraiser at Diablo McGee’s.
Klund said he was shocked by the amount of money and support given to him.
“Believe me, it blows me away,” he said. “This is how dire straits the rest of the firefighters around the state feel. That’s how motivated some of these people are.”
Klund also had the backing of the Friends of the Mehlville Fire District, an organization that formed in February to oppose Hilmer.
The Friends raised $67,100, with $67,000 coming from the Mehlville Fire Fighters Local 1889 and $100 coming from the group’s treasurer Mike Pollihan.
The organization hired Edward Rhode as the general consultant and paid him $25,500 in three installments for design and data work. They also spent $39,181.96 on printing from Pelican Printing in St. Louis and $1,820.28 on yard signs from Trio Graphics.
“We believe Aaron Hilmer has taken the Fire District in the wrong direction over the last six years and we need a change in leadership,” Rhode said in an email to Mehlville Patch.
Hilmer has raised $10,370.38, receiving $4,500 from the Home Builders Association on Feb. 14 and $2,965 from supporters from Feb. 1 to March 28. Hilmer also received a $2,000 in-kind contribution from 95th District State Representative Mike Leara (R-Concord, Sunset Hills).
Among Hilmer’s donors were current board secretary Ed Ryan ($400), Ryan Massey ($500) and the Tesson Ferry Republican Club ($150).
Hilmer reports spending $12,773.99, of which $7,961.07 went to City Graphics for mailers, $783.92 for signs and $4,029 for advertising.
Hilmer said the amount of money he raised was plenty.
When asked about the amount given to his opponent, he said, “I’ve never commented on my opponent. I just want to run the fire district how the taxpayers would want. It’s their fire district."
“I think it shows how efficient I’ve been,” he said. “It shows they want to sit on both sides of the table. I feel the residents of South County are way too intelligent to fall for that."