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Expert: Money helps, doesn't ensure win
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Forsyth County News

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To view the full campaign disclosure reports from these and other contests, visit the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission’s Web site at http://ethics.ga.gov/.

With the July 31 primary about two weeks away, political candidates have been busy building their campaign war chests.

The candidate with the most money doesn’t always win the race, said Charles Bullock, legislative and Southern political professor at the University of Georgia. But funding does help.

“By getting the contributions, that allows a candidate to do a mail-out or do multiple mail-outs,” he said. “That does permit them to introduce themselves to voters. The county is so large you can’t say, ‘I’m going to meet everybody in the county.’ It would not happen — could not happen.”

Candidates seeking election to state and local offices this year were required to report contributions from the months of April through June by midnight July 9 to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.

The report is the last showing of candidates’ financial cards before the election.

Forsyth’s various candidates have raised funds through many means, including loaning themselves money, local contributors, out-of-state contributions and political action committees.

Bullock said while opponents may focus on whether contributions came from a less-than-desirable source, it’s “not going to influence voters one way or another.”

“The bottom line is it’s more important they have the money,” he said.

Candidates who did not file disclosures by the deadline will be assessed a $125 fine, which can increase over time.

Bullock was sympathetic for the office-seekers, saying “most political figures don’t like having to raise funds.

“It’s what they find most distasteful about their job — calling friends and people they know and asking them for money,” he said.

The following is a look at the campaign disclosure reports of several local key contested races.

District 27 State Senate

While both incumbent Jack Murphy and his opponent have raised about the same amount of money since the last filing date, Murphy had a head start and has accrued nearly $198,000 in contributions. Nearly $145,000 of that remains.

Voshall, who has been raising money only since this spring, has received more than $31,000 in contributions. He’s also spent his own money  toward a campaign attorney, marketing and Web site expenses.

Murphy also received $2,500 from Sen. Ronnie Chance’s election campaign and the Georgia Republican Senatorial Trust, as well as several $1,000 donations, including from Cumming Mayor H. Ford Gravitt, Walters Management Company, Workplace Injury Network PAC, Total System Services Inc. PAC, Troutman Sanders Strategies/Georgia PAC, Law Offices of Robert E. Bourne, GlobalPayments, HosPAC, General Electric Company and the election campaigns of Sen. Jack Hill and Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens.

Voshall received a fair share of large contributions as well, including $2,500 from I Object Solutions Inc. owner William Hale and Masalex Properties LLC. He also received $1,000 from Epps & Pilgrim, Michael Garrell of Garrell & Associates, Heritage Funeral Funding, Belynda Cook and Craig Hethcox, as well as $2,000 from Harold Schneider Jr. and J&H Equipment, Inc.

• Jack Murphy (incumbent)
Total contributions since March: $38,654
Total contributions to date: $197,461
Total expenditures since March: $31,285
Total expenditures to date: $52,576
Net balance on hand: $144,855

• Steve Voshall
Total contributions since March: $31,015
Total contributions to date: $31,015
Total expenditures since March: $6,709
Total expenditures to date: $6,709
Net balance on hand: $24,306

District 26 State House

Tom Knox is not an incumbent. But it was just two years ago that the former District 24 state representative ran for state insurance and fire safety commissioner, so his name may still be associated with the state House.

But he’s got a long way to go to match opponent Geoff Duncan’s financial support. Knox has, however, out-raised his opponent since March, garnering more than $7,500 to Duncan’s $4,420.

After multiple expenditures, Duncan still has nearly $42,000 left from his total contributions of about $93,000. About $65,000 of that was a loan to his campaign.

Duncan’s largest contributions were $500, from five different people.

Knox has raised about $7,550 since the last filing period, with nearly $44,700 raised since he announced his candidacy. He has less than $26,700 on hand.

Knox has received many contributions for $500 and one $1,000 contribution, from AIA-SEINSPAC-GA.

• Geoff Duncan
Total contributions since March: $4,420
Total contributions to date: $92,920
Total expenditures since March: $16,622.99
Total expenditures to date: $51,233.25
Net balance on hand: $41,686.75

• Tom Knox
Total contributions since March: $7,550.12
Total contributions to date: $44,675.12
Total expenditures since March: $16,747.14
Total expenditures to date: $17,978.48
Net balance on hand: $26,696.64

District 2 County Commission

His name might be on the ballot, but Samuel Padis has not filed any campaign disclosure reports, violating state ethics laws.
Incumbent Brian Tam and opponent Dennis Brown have filed, both listing multiple large donations.

Tam has raised nearly $13,500 since the last filing, including eight donations of $500.  He also received a $750 donation, as well as $2,000 from the Black Diamond Grill and $1,500 from dental laboratory CEO Kay Sheffield.

Brown donated $1,650 to his own campaign, but also received a $1,000 donation from Joe Moses and two $500 donations.

• Dennis Brown
Total contributions since March: $9,704.49
Total contributions to date: $17,564.49
Total expenditures since March: $12,376.53
Total expenditures to date: $16,310.52
Net balance on hand: $1,253.97

• Samuel Scott Padis
No report filed.

• Brian Tam (incumbent)
Total contributions since March: $13,495
Total contributions to date: $34,943
Total expenditures since March: $17,934.24
Total expenditures to date: $24,910.63
Net balance on hand: $10,032.37

District 4 County Commission

The county’s most contested race has two clear frontrunners in terms of fundraising — incumbent Patrick Bell and challenger Cindy J. Mills.

Since the last filing period, Bell has raised more than $7,900, while Mills has raised more than $5,700. To date, Bell has raised nearly $32,000, with Mills’ total more than $24,000.

The next closes candidate is Bill Mulrooney, who has raised $1,200, and $4,125 since registering as a candidate. Mulrooney’s money has come solely from two contributions, one of $1,000 from Joe Moses.

Candidate Tim Hubbard has not raised any money this reporting period, leaving his total at about $2,100. Candidate Charles H. Meagher has not filed a report.

Bell has received multiple $250 and $100 donations, in addition to $1,000 from Mary Kingsbury, $1,400 from MKW-1 LLC and $1,500 from Kay Sheffield.

Mills loaned her campaign $10,000 early on, but has since gone on to raise more than $14,000.

For this filing period, she reported receiving seven cash donations, including $2,500 from Brenda Jones, three $500 donations and three $250 donations.

• Patrick Bell (incumbent)
Total contributions since March: $7,919
Total contributions to date: $31,856.01
Total expenditures since March: $16,553.52
Total expenditures to date: $24,937.96
Net balance on hand: $6,918.05

• Timothy L. Hubbard
Total contributions since March: $0
Total contributions to date: $2,104.70
Total expenditures since March: $1,757.02
Total expenditures to date: $1,757.02
Net balance on hand: $347.68

• Charles H. Meagher
No report filed.

• Cindy J. Mills
Total contributions since March: $5,725
Total contributions to date: $24,090
Total expenditures since March: $7,469.16
Total expenditures to date: $15,861.30
Net balance on hand: $8,228.70

• William “Bill” Mulrooney
Total contributions since March: $1,575
Total contributions to date: $4,125
Total expenditures since March: $1,779.44
Total expenditures to date: $3,922.63
Net balance on hand: $202.37

District 5 County Commission

Jim Boff is off to a slow fundraising start. The incumbent has raised $2,250 in contributions of $100 or more for this filing period.
According to the original report filed, his campaign was more than $4,000 in debt. Boff amended the original report, but said he plans to file an additional amendment.

Both reports show Tony Parker Pond Inc. donating $1,000 to his campaign, as well as one $500 donation and several smaller ones.

Challenger John Derucki has more money on hand than Boff, largely due to a $3,500 self-loan. Derucki has nearly $1,600 on hand, following about $500 in donations of less than $100 and one $250 donation.

• Jim Boff (incumbent)
Total contributions since March: $2,250
Total contributions to date: $2,250
Total expenditures since March: $1,766.53
Total expenditures to date: $1,766.53
Net balance on hand: $483.47

• John Derucki
Total contributions since March: $4,250
Total contributions to date: $10,255
Total expenditures since March: $4,407.93
Total expenditures to date: $8,685.38
Net balance on hand: $1,569.62

Sheriff

The key donor for the sheriff’s race has been the three candidates themselves.

This year, incumbent Ted Paxton has loaned his campaign $9,000. But his opponents have taken a lot more out of their own pockets, with Lauren McDonald loaning his campaign $17,000 and Duane K. Piper loaning his campaign $40,000.

In addition, the three men have raised outside money.

Paxton has received nearly $13,000 this reporting period. He received $1,000 each from Lawrence Lehman, Brian Moss, Mobile Communications of Forsyth and R.A. Ingram Co. Inc. He also received many $250 and $500 donations.

McDonald has raised $17,267, not including his self-loan. He received $2,000 from Terry Hobbs and Michael McInerney, $2,500 from Atlanta attorney Brian Rogers and $1,000 each from the Houghton Law Firm LLC and William Archer III.

Piper has raised more than $17,400, nearly $7,000 of which came from donations of less than $100. His larger donors include David Hole and Kyle Epps, each of whom gave $1,000.

Piper also gave his own campaign more than $1,100, separate from the loan he gave himself last reporting period. He also received four donations for $500, four for $600 and three for $400.

With his original $40,000 loan, Piper has accrued twice as much money as McDonald and Paxton. After expenditures from this reporting period, he has nearly four times as much funding on hand as his opponents combined.

• Lauren McDonald III
Total contributions since March: $34,267
Total contributions to date: $34,267
Total expenditures since March: $31,102.80
Total expenditures to date: $31,102.80
Net balance on hand: $3,164.20

• Ted Paxton (incumbent)
Total contributions since March: $21,909
Total contributions to date: $27,686.88
Total expenditures since March: $23,912.34
Total expenditures to date: $23,912.34
Net balance on hand: $3,774.54

• Duane K. Piper
Total contributions since March: $17,401.35
Total contributions to date: $76,456.35
Total expenditures since March: $24,216.12
Total expenditures to date: $51,372.79
Net balance on hand: $25,083.56