With almost four months left until November's municipal elections, Augusta Super District 10 candidate Grady Smith has out-raised opponent Sean Frantom by nearly 5 to 1, according to disclosure reports filed Thursday at the local elections office.
Smith's report showed contributions of $19,650, compared to $4,105 for Frantom. Among the donations Smith received were $500 from area businessmen Leroy Simpkins, Duncan Johnson, Gary Waugh, E.G. Meybohm, Andre Morris, W. B. Kuhlke, George Snelling and Frank Abbott, Darren Smith and James W. Smith III, and $100 apiece from five employees at Dixie Riverside.
Smith also received $1,000 contributions from Augusta Industrial Services, RBW Logistics and Morris Insulation & Environmental.
Endorsed by current District 10 Commissioner Don Grantham, who is term limited, Smith said the financial support came from childhood friends and people in the community he had worked alongside during 50 years in the plumbing, heating and cooling business.
If elected, Smith said the money won't impact his decision-making. "I don't want to be obligated to anyone. I have to shave every morning, and I want to be able to look myself in the mirror," he said.
Frantom's contributions so far include a $500 donation from his father, $200 from Sean Egan of Environmental PC, a March donation of $250 from developer Braye Boardman and $1,000 from Paul Simon, retired president of Morris Communications and current president of Augusta Riverfront LLC, which operates the riverfront Augusta Marriott.
The 31-year-old said he was "not concerned" about his current fundraising deficit.
"I haven't really asked for the big players' money yet," Frantom said. "We're way early in the game. If I wanted to go ahead and get all my money, I would have done it."
Frantom added that he'd make up for any monetary shortfall with social media and grassroots effectiveness.
The third candidate to qualify for the District 10 race, Robert Ingram, said he hasn't raised any money and did not expect to.
Fund raising efforts have been slower for some of the candidates for the other four commission seats and the mayor's office. The fundraising reports were due in the Richmond County Board of Elections office Thursday or postmarked Thursday.
Mayor Deke Copenhaver, who declared no contributions, said he hadn't begun to raise money because he did not know he'd be opposed until late last week.
"That's on my 'to-do' list," Copenhaver said.
Challenger William "Gil" Gilyard listed contributions of $2,225, including $1,950 of his own money he spent on qualifying, while candidate Lori Davis declared no contributions on her report.
In the District 2 commission race, incumbent Corey Johnson reported a $500 contribution from Parsons Corporation and $250 from Robert Osborne Jr., both of which he'd spent on two community breakfasts and postcard fliers.
Former District 2 Commissioner Marion Williams declared $840 in individual contributions, all less than $101 each, during the period.
In the District 4 race, incumbent and Mayor Pro-Tem Alvin Mason carried over a balance of $1,455 from the last election.
Challenger Sammie Sias declared donations from Jacqueline Fason, Muriel Pigler, Catherine Winbush, Rosetta Carter and Kathryn Capizzi totaling $1,215, plus individual contributions of less than $101 each totaling $1,500, for a total for the period of $3,790.
The report from the third candidate in the District 4 race, former commissioner Bernard Harper, was not yet on file, nor were those of District 8 candidates Doug Lively, Tom Cobb and Alan Tanner. District 8 qualifier Wayne Guilfoyle declared contributions from John Gray, April Colburn and Emiko Guilfoyle totaling $1,285.