Walker, Pratt, Beauman top spending reports

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Election Committee Chairman Donald Oakes explains how the ballots will work in the upcoming election to Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Rawlings, left, Republican Party Committee Chairman Eric Biedenharn, City Clerk Walter Osborne and Democratic Party Committee Chairman Albert Squire Sr. Tuesday at City Hall. Tuesday was the last day for candidates in next Tuesday’s primaries to turn in campaign finance reports to the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[04/25/01] In the hunt for Vicksburg’s top elected position, incumbent Mayor Robert Walker has outspent his Democratic opponent 3-1, according to financial disclosure statements.

Otherwise, of the nine candidates whose names will appear on Tuesday’s primary ballots, the biggest spender so far has been North Ward hopeful Jo Pratt.

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Candidates seeking party nominations for one of the city’s three elected positions were required to turn in campaign finance reports to the City Clerk’s Office by 5 p.m. Tuesday. Independent candidates, who will not appear on ballots until the June 5 general election, are required to report campaign fund raising and spending on May 29.

According to those reports, Walker, 56, who is seeking his third full-term as mayor, raised $8,791 and spent $5,164 on his campaign. Eric Rawlings, 38, challenging Walker for the Democratic nomination, raised $1,880 and spent $1,828.

Rawlings, who is making his first bid for public office, said he feels good about the race he has run even if he has not generated as much funding as the other candidates.

“I’ve been turning down checks,” Rawlings said. Because, “I don’t want to be obligated to any one person or one group.”

The winner of the primary race between Rawlings and Walker will face independents Laurence Leyens, 36, Joe Loviza, 61, and Eva Marie Ford, 63, for the $56,531-a-year post.

Candidates who spend more than $200 on a campaign are required to file a series of reports with the clerk’s office, according to state law. The reports must indicate any donations or expenditures of more than $200 each.

Pratt, 67, raised $8,217 for her campaign, the largest amount coming out of her own pocket. Her report shows $7,254 has been spent.

“I’ve really not actively raised money,” Pratt said. “Everything just kind of came in.”

Incumbent North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young, 45, raised about half as much, $4,410, and spent $2,242 on her campaign for a third term. Rodney Dillamar, 41, who is making his second run for the $45,491-a-year alderman’s position, raised $785 while spending $1,019.

If none of the three candidates in the North Ward race gets a majority of the votes Tuesday, a runoff between the top two would be May 15. The winner of the primary will face Sylvester Walker, 40, in the general election.

In the South Ward’s two primary races, Democratic hopeful Carl Marshall Upton Jr. did not turn in a campaign disclosure statement by the 5 p.m., deadline. Although state laws governing campaign disclosure in local races do not impose a fine, the winner of a race cannot be certified or paid until after the report has been filed, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

His campaign manager, Jeff Burnett, said this morning that Upton had received no contributions and had spent less than $200 of his own money on the campaign.

Upton will face Pam Johnson, 35, in Tuesday’s primary. According to her report, she raised $1,500 for the campaign and spent $3,665.

In that ward’s Republican primary, Sidney H. Beauman Jr., 53, outspent his opponent, Sam Smith, 37, by a margin of nearly 4-1. Beauman raised $6,450 and spent $3,265 while Smith raised $1,800 and spent $836.

South Ward primary winners will advance to the city’s general election and face independents Vickie Bailey, 33, and Ashlea Mosley, 18.

The deadline for residents who are eligible to vote absentee is noon Saturday. Mailed absentee ballots will be accepted until Monday.

There are 17,407 eligible municipal voters for Tuesday’s primary, but residents can still register to vote in the general election until May 5.

After the voting, candidates are also required to file reports detailing receipts and spending. The reports are available to the public in the City Clerk’s Office.