Leyens leads pack in campaign cash|[4/27/05]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 27, 2005

With six weeks to go before his name will appear on the general election ballot, Mayor Laurence Leyens’ campaign for re-election has raised more money than all the other candidates who filed reports combined.

According to records filed by candidates Tuesday, the campaign to re-elect Leyens has raised $72,000 and the committee has spent $30,314.

While other candidates have been dipping into their own pockets to finance their campaigns, Leyens said he has gotten a lot of support from people who say they like what the administration has done for the past four years.

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“I think that large campaign amount is a reflection of how important it is to the business community that we continue what we’ve been doing,” Leyens said.

Sixteen people are seeking elective office. Candidates seeking party nominations on May 3 were required to submit financial statements to the City Clerk’s Office by 5 p.m. Tuesday. Leyens filed under a separate requirement for political action committees. Four Democratic hopefuls missed the deadline. John Ferguson, Eric Rawlings, Michael Mayfield and DaVon Grey did not submit the required paperwork by the state-set deadline.

Mayfield said he had missed the deadline because he was working late Tuesday night, but that he planned to file the forms today.

State law sets a penalty of $50 per day after 10 days for failing to submit financial statements and candidates who do not file cannot be certified as winners or take office. When filing for office, candidates are given forms and a schedule of reporting dates.

Independents and Republican candidates who are not challenged in Tuesday’s primaries are required to report campaign fund raising and spending on May 31. Winners of Democratic nominations and political committees must also file updated reports at that time.

In the first round of voting next week, there are primaries for all three city elective posts: mayor and North and South Ward aldermen.

According to financial statements filed by candidates for mayor seeking the Democratic nomination, Warren County District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon has spent $5,000 of his own money while first-time office-seeker John Shorter has financed $3,500 of his campaign.

Selmon, who has been elected three times to the county board, admitted that spending his own money is a risk, but worth it if he wins.

“If you’re going to do it you’ve got to give it all that you’ve got,” Selmon said.

Selmon’s report shows he has raised $8,950, including his own money, and has spent $7,620. Shorter shows $4,500 in contributions and $4,346 in disbursements.

In 2001, Leyens raised about $100,000 in his first bid for public office.

The mayor is paid $73,500 and aldermen, $58,000. Others seeking the mayor’s office who will appear on the June 7 ballot are Republican Shirley Smollen and independent Joe Loviza.

While Leyens is outpacing everyone in the mayor’s race, North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young is leading in her bid for a fourth term at City Hall. Reports for Young show she has received $18,741, four times as much as she raised four years ago.

She has also spent $472 more than what was spent by all three candidates in 2001 combined.

“I had asked not one person for anything and it’s just amazing to me the number of people who have been coming up to me and saying how much they appreciate what we’ve done,” Young said.

This time around Young is facing three challengers, including Mayfield and Rodney Dillamar, who is seeking the nomination a third time.

“I feel like this is my most heated race, and I’ve tried to go all out,” Young said.

Dillamar has raised $1,020, but has dipped into his own pocket for another $3,029 in campaign spending.

“You’ve got to get the message out, and if you don’t spend money it’s not going to get out,” Dillamar said. “It’s a close tight race and people have been pretty quiet so far, so I had to spend some money to get my platform out.”

The winner of that primary will face independent candidates Tommie Rawlings and Vickie Bailey and Republican Carl Yelverton in the general election.

In the South Ward race, reports for Pam Johnson also showed that she had spent more than she has received. Johnson reported $1,160 in contributions and $1,200 in disbursements.

She will face Grey in the primary race and the winner will advance to the general election with incumbent Sid Beauman, a Republican seeking his second term.