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Delegation disclosures show cost of campaigns
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Forsyth County News

No member of Forsyth County's state legislative delegation has opposition in November, but their recent campaign disclosure reports show the money keeps rolling in -- and in some cases out.

The reports for the period ending Sept. 30, filed with the State Ethics Commission, show District 9 state Rep. Amos Amerson raised the most, with more than $45,000 in contributions since the previous filing June 30.

Amerson, a Republican from Dahlonega, also was the only member of the Forsyth delegation who had opposition in the July 15 primary, where he turned back a challenge from Steve Gooch, chairman of the Lumpkin County commission.

Nearly half the money Amerson raised was received on or before that election, with $12,700 in donations being accepted on Election Day.

Amerson also repaid himself $10,000 for a loan he made to his campaign. His expenditures included about $31,500 to Landmark Communications Inc. for campaign advertising and a $5,000 "victory bonus."

Not all contributions were incoming. District 24 state Rep. Tom Knox took $15,500 from his own campaign funds and gave it to the Georgia Republican Party.

Knox, a Republican from Cumming and chairman of the House Insurance Committee, also gave himself $20,000 in loan repayments.

Many of Knox's contributions of $1,000 or more were from insurance companies, including Geico, Builders Insurance Group, Allstate Insurance Co. and AIG, which recently failed and took an $85 billion loan from the federal government.

District 27 state Sen. Jack Murphy, R-Cumming, spent more than he raised. He took in $10,394 and spent $11,264.

Murphy donated about $8,000 to various campaigns, including those of Forsyth County Commissioner Brian Tam and U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, as well as a $500 contribution to Republican Fred Thompson's campaign in July.

Thompson dropped out of the presidential race in January.

Nearly $1,930 of Murphy's expenditures went to American Express, for travel reimbursement to attend the annual meetings of the American Legislative Exchange Council and Southern Legislative Council.

District 23 state Rep. Mark Hamilton received more than $18,700 in contributions.

Donors to the Cumming Republican included C.W. Matthews contracting company, the Georgia Highway Contractors Association PAC, Philip Morris USA Inc., Porsche Cars North America and the Georgia Valve & Fitting Co.

Hamilton listed about $7,800 in expenditures, including mileage and travel reimbursement, postage fundraiser costs and several campaign contributions.

Of Forsyth's delegates, District 51 state Sen. Chip Pearson raised the least, with $5,900 in contributions. All of the donations to Pearson, R-Dawsonville, were for $750 or less.

The majority of Pearson's expenditures were for membership fees, campaign contributions and subscriptions to various newspapers.

The next disclosure filing deadline is Oct. 25.