In the final quarterly fundraising report due before Nov. 6 Augusta Commission elections, District 3 contender Mary Davis and District 7 hopeful Donnie Smith are leading in campaign cash, with each raising about $10,000 more than their competitors.
Davis, who once served as Mayor Deke Copenhaver’s campaign chairwoman, has raised the most of any of the 11 candidates for the five seats. She has collected $38,865 since starting her campaign and has $21,030 on hand.
Her campaign reported 84 individual contributions since January, including four of $1,000 each.
She and a few others have benefited from $1,000 donations from the Builders Political Action Committee of the CSRA. In August, the PAC, headed by Columbia County builder and former state legislator Joey Brush, also gave $1,000 each to District 9 candidate Harold Jones, District 1 Commissioner Matt Aitken and District 5 Commissioner Bill Lockett, who is unopposed.
Lockett said he was pleasantly surprised to be invited to an August interview with a BPAC panel that included Brush. After answering a few questions, Lockett said, he was sent a check that he will probably use to pay campaign debt from his previous run for the commission.
“If I have any left over, I’ll do whatever with it that’s within the limits of the law,” he said.
The PAC also gave $500 each to District 7 candidates Smith and Ken Echols.
Ed Enoch, who is opposing Davis in District 3, had raised $29,924 in his latest report, with $17,141 on hand. Enoch, an attorney who represents the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority, received $2,500 contributions from Kendrick Paint and Body and S&K Capital Partners, $1,500 from Skateland of Augusta and $1,000 from SG Contracting, an Atlanta construction management firm.
Sheriff Ronnie Strength, who retires at the end of this year, gave $1,000 to Smith and $500 each to Davis and Aitken.
Smith, a lieutenant with the Georgia State Patrol, has raised $22,850 since January and has $12,383 on hand. He’s received 59 individual contributions of $125 or more, with $1,000 contributions from Mark Walpour, Lewis Blanchard and Monty Osteen.
Smith is the only candidate with support from the Southeastern Carpenters Regional Council Political Action Committee, which gave him $2,500.
Echols, who served three terms on the Richmond County school board, has raised $10,590 and has $1,513 on hand. The retired hospital administrator saw the largest contributions from his wife, from physician Janis Coffin and in a loan to himself of $3,148.
Most of the candidates met Friday’s deadline to file campaign finance disclosures. However, educator Cleveland O’Steen, who is seeking the District 3 seat, has filed nothing with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission since January, when he reported a zero balance. The agency lists O’Steen as owing about $1,000 in fines for not filing reports on time.
O’Steen said Friday that he thought his campaign manager, listed on an earlier report as Ken Bonds, was taking care of the filing details.
“You’re telling me something new,” O’Steen said. “I’ll find out all that Monday.”
In the hotly contested District 1 race, Bill Fennoy had no contributions on file with the finance commission as of Friday, but he said he had raised about $4,500, with the most support from longtime friend Jimmy Moss. Fennoy said he didn’t think money would make the difference in District 1 and that he was spending all his time going door to door.
Aitken had raised as much by Friday, $9,905, as he had three years ago. Before his 2009 runoff against Fennoy, Aitken’s campaign chest swelled to $29,820.
Paper filings obtained from the finance commission revealed support for former District 1 candidate Lori Davis from Augusta hotelier Bonnie Ruben, who gave $1,000.
Davis has withdrawn from the race and put her support behind Stanley Hawes. Hawes had filed no reports with the finance commission and owes $375 in late fees. Hawes said Friday that he was prepared to pay the fines and estimated he had raised $8,500, mostly through small, individual donations.
“When you’re running on a shoestring and you don’t have many people working with you, you learn from your mistakes,” Hawes said.
Augusta Green Party founder Denice Traina, who is seeking the District 1 seat, reported raising $459 in her campaign reports.
District 9 hopeful Jones, who served as Richmond County solicitor and ran for the Legislature, reported raising $11,902, including a $2,000 in-kind donation from his parents, $1,500 each from the Foundation Club and the Frails and Wilson law firm and $1,000 apiece from BPAC, Kimberly Terry, physician Marian Ebron and attorney Victor Hawk.
Jones’ opponent, former District 2 Commissioner Marion Williams, reported raising $4,998 as of Friday.