Hopson out front on political contributions|[07/11/07]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Campaign spending in the race to become Vicksburg and Warren County’s next state senator is on the upsurge, evidenced by yard signs and disclosure reports.

The latest reports include financial activity from June 1 through June 30 and were submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office Tuesday.

They show attorney W. Briggs Hopson III leading in the District 23 race with $69,910 in contributions and $26,277 in expenses.

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His opponents in the Aug. 7 Republican primary, Rep. Chester Masterson and retired state trooper James &#8220Buddy” Terrell, have spent $15,944 and $5,083 respectively.

The three are seeking the seat being vacated by Republican Mike Chaney. The primary winner advances to face Democrat Eric Rawlings.

As for income, Masterson reported raising $17,103, and Terrell reported spending $5,084 of his own money.

Rawlings’ report shows $842 spent out of $2,387 in contributions to date, inconsistent with the report for May which showed $4,387 in financing and $2,000 spent through May 31.

No developments have been reported on Rawlings’ last report, which has become the subject of an inquiry by the Attorney General’s Office. It showed a $400 cash contribution from state Rep. George Flaggs, D-Vicksburg, a donation the District 55 incumbent has vehemently denied, but Rawlings insisted was made. Flaggs requested the investigation. &#8220It’s still going on so far as I know,” Flaggs said Tuesday.

Senate District 23 covers all of Warren and Issaquena counties, plus parts of Sharkey and Yazoo.

Other legislative races show Flaggs receiving more donations than minister Rick McAlister, his Republican opponent in the November general election, by more than 2-to-1.

Flaggs has raised $15,180 and spent $7,162. McAlister reported no spending in the third mandatory reporting period, but has raised $423 and spent $403 to date.

In House District 54, covering most of nonmunicipal Warren County plus Issaquena and a portion of Sharkey, Republican Ryan Sadler leads the way in contributions with $36,097 to date, with $12,359 in expenditures. His primary challenger, businessman Alex Monsour did not file a report for June by the 5 p.m. deadline, but has reported raising about $33,000 since the beginning of the year, much of it his own funds. Through May 31, he reported spending $4,805.

Attorney Thomas Setser, running as an independent, aided his coffers with his own $1,500 contribution in June, bringing his year-to-date total to $1,800. He has not spent any money to date, however.

On the Democratic side, Jennifer Thomas raised $1,720 in June, much of it in contributions of less than $200. She reported spending $804.

As for local races, spending for district attorney, tax assessor and District 1 supervisor has picked up.

Incumbent Gil Martin reported $5,750 in donations and $5,231 spent. Attorney Ricky Smith, challenging Martin for the second straight time, this time as a Democrat, has raised $9,718 and spent $8,622.

For tax assessor, Democratic incumbent Richard Holland reported $3,300 in contributions with nothing spent. His challenger, independent Pat Ring, has raised $15,922 so far, with $13,869 spent.

In the District 1 race, incumbent David McDonald reported $6,880 coming in for June, with $455 spent. His GOP challenger, John Arnold, has raised $6,140 and spent $5,896 so far.

In other races for county supervisor, money has flowed a bit slower. In District 2, incumbent William Banks reported $1,849 in contributions and $1,365 spent so far. His primary opponent, Michael Gates, reported no activity in June.

The winner faces independent Tommie F. Rawlings, who did not file a report for June. Through May, he reported $863 in contributions.

Incumbent District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon raised $3,250 and spent $2,626 in June. His primary challenger, James Stirgus Jr. did not file a June report but had raised more than $1,000 through May.

In District 4, incumbent Carl Flanders did not report activity in June, but had raised $1,326 through May. Fellow independent and former supervisor Bill Lauderdale reported $4,450 in donations and $100 spent through June. Republican C.L. &#8220Buddy” Hardy did not file a report for June.

In District 5, the money leader is independent Kenneth Sharp Jr., with $3,400 raised and $2,964 spent. Incumbent Richard George has raised $1,500, mostly small donations.

Two Republicans who will face off in the primary in District 5, Joe Wooley and James McCoy, reported spending less than $400 apiece with nothing raised.

Another independent, Robert Hubbard, did not file a report for June.