Sen. Hardie Davis maintains a healthy fundraising lead over Augusta’s other four mayoral candidates in the latest campaign financial reports due with Richmond County Board of Elections.
Davis began the reporting period with $38,256 on hand from $71,075 he’d raised before the General Assembly convened. He ended the period March 31 with another $11,294 raised and $30,647 in the bank, for a grand total of $82,369 raised since he announced the campaign in August.
Davis’ latest contributions included $1,000 each from Steven Bryant’s Electrical Contractors LLC and Augusta attorney Wyck Knox; $500 apiece from U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, developer Rodger Giles and attorneys Randy Frails, John Manton and Sam Nicholson; $250 from University Hospital CEO Jim Davis and $250 from Darren Smith, son of former Augusta commissioner Jimmy Smith.
During the same period, Davis used his campaign funds to repay $7,500 of a $15,000 loan he made to himself and pay other campaign expenses, according to the report.
Davis’ two closest fundraising contenders are neck-and-neck with around $6,000 on hand for the final leg of the campaign. The election is May 20.
Commissioner Alvin Mason reported raising $6,696 during the period and spending $10,104, leaving him with $6,224 on hand from his total campaign contributions of $37,052.
Mason’s donations during the period included $500 from Manton; $1,500 from Redzone Robotics of Pittsburgh, Pa., and $3,923 he lists as raised at a fish fry. He spent from his campaign chest on supplies for the fry, a St. Patrick’s Day float rental and other expenses.
Businesswoman Helen Blocker-Adams raised $4,269 during the eight-week period, which she ended with $6,022 on hand. Her total funds raised during the campaign is $13,517.
Blocker-Adams’ donations during the period included $300 each from Mark Tribby, Brenda Galeas, Tom Hildebrand, Jeff Gorelick and Charlie Sconyers.
Candidate Lori Myles, a language arts teacher at T.W. Josey High School, reported raising $5,900 during the period, through cash donations from herself, research coordinator Kelora Cofer, Realtor Evelyn Sparrow and her husband, Kerwin Myles.
Myles’ largest expenditure was the qualifying fee and a $1,000 billboard, and she ended her first fundraising period with a balance of $59.46.
Charles Cummings, a retired restaurateur running on a platform of improving public transit, garnered a $150 contribution from Macon pastor Mark Pierson, bringing his campaign total to $1,051. Cummings reported no itemized expenses, and ended the period with $156.50.
It is rare but not unheard of for lesser-funded candidates to win countywide races in Augusta-Richmond County.
Sheriff Richard Roundtree, who garnered some $168,175 in his quest to be sheriff, won a primary runoff against better-funded candidate Scott Peebles.
Mayor Deke Copenhaver raised some $383,813 in his first race for a full term, far more than his opponents.
Commissioner Marion Williams, however, won election to represent half of Augusta-Richmond in Super District 9 on a reported budget of less than $5,000.