Commission candidates report fundraising for May 20 elections

A shorter season seems to be making for smaller campaign war chests, especially in the Super District 10 Augusta Commission election.


According to campaign filings due Monday, incumbent Grady Smith has raised $12,666.72 in cash and in-kind donations toward his re-election campaign, compared to challenger Brandon Dial’s $7,362.48.

The numbers are down since Smith’s election to the seat in November 2010, when he raised $61,732 in a contest with Sean Frantom, who raised $17,270.74. Since then, the Georgia legislature moved the elections earlier in the year, to May.

Smith’s contributions come mostly from Augusta friends and associates, with the two largest a $1,500 donation from nephew Lewis Blanchard, a lieutenant with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, and $1,000 from businessman Charles Anderson.

In the final regular filing before the May 20 election, Dial, an attorney, reported contributions from a Charlotte television reporter and several Augusta attorney friends. Both candidates said they don’t think money will decide the race.

“At the end of the day, I don’t think money wins the election; I think it will be hard work,” Dial said. “I’m going to try to personally meet more voters than he will.”

Smith said he’s campaigning across the super district, including south Augusta, but invited voters to consider his record.

“When you’ve got an opponent, how hard do you run?” he said. “People know me, they know what I’ve done. If people like it, vote for me. If they don’t, vote for the other guy.”

Despite the deadline, several of 14 candidates for five commission seats had not filed campaign financial reports at Richmond County Board of Elections late Monday.

Deputy Elections Director Travis Doss said the candidates can still meet the deadline by having their reports postmarked by Monday.

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