Candidate spending doubles in 4 years Ashley-Palmertree leads all in races on Tuesday ballots

Published 11:44 am Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Candidates running for countywide offices and supervisor posts have raised and spent nearly twice as much as candidates did four years ago, according to the final round of finance reports before Tuesday’s general election.

Five contested races in the courthouse, sheriff’s office and the Board of Supervisors have netted $216,180.57 in contributions through Oct. 23, reports show. That’s nearly 41 percent more than the $128,405.94 in gifts at this time in 2007.

The rise is buoyed by a larger field of candidates. Thirty names will appear on Tuesday’s ballot for circuit and chancery clerk posts, tax collector, tax assessor, sheriff and all five seats on the Board of Supervisors, compared to 19 four years ago. Three posts — coroner, prosecutor and district attorney — are uncontested this year, as well as all six justice court judges and constables, compared to nine countywide and district incumbents left alone in 2007.

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Spending, mainly on advertising and signs, also has rocketed this year, totaling $210,387.44 to date. Candidates had spend $107,875.26 at this time in 2007.

Reports on campaign cash were received Tuesday by 20 of the 30 candidates on next Tuesday’s ballot, according to the circuit clerk’s office. Mississippi law mandates full disclosure of contributions of more than $200.

Circuit Clerk Shelly Ashley-Palmertree leads the fundraising pack with $23,469.50 to date, including a $13,184.50 transfer to herself this period and a $1,500 gift listed as an “anonymous donation.” Jan Hyland Daigre reported $13,921.69 raised for the period, with no gifts itemized. David Sharp reported $1,650 in donations from The Duff Green, Greenlawn Gardens Cemetery and Sharp Enterprises among his $2,800 in reported gifts to date. Robert Terry’s $10,037 raised to date includes $2,447 from “friends and supporters.” Ashley-Palmertree is a Democrat; Sharp is a Republican. Terry and Daigre are independents.

Republican Donna Farris Hardy, one of four vying to succeed retiring chancery clerk Dot McGee, showed $16,205 raised thus far. No contributions are specified on the latest report. Democrat Walter Osborne, Vicksburg’s city clerk since 1999, reported having raised $12,519.97 thus far. Recent contributions came from Two-J Eagle LLC, Foam Packaging and Jimmy Gouras. Independent candidate Alecia Ashley reported a $1,848 donation from former assistant DA Mike Bonner among her $4,208.13 raised thus far. No report was received from Gene Thompson, also an independent.

Retired deputy Bubba Comans outraised Sheriff Martin Pace, reports show. Among Comans’ $14,955.08 in contributions are $300 gifts from Riverbend Environmental Services, Emmett Atwood and Edith Washington, a $200 gift from Ricky’s Welding and Machine Shop and $501 from M Y Hospitality LLC. Noted among Pace’s $12,963 in contributions are $1,000 gifts from Steve Golding and Vicksburg Plant Food, and $500 gifts each from Shiers Communications, Hunter Fordice, Dan Fordice and attorney Bobby Bailess.

Tax assessor candidate Doug Tanner appeared to lead the money chase among four running to succeed the retiring Richard Holland. Among his $13,249 raised included gifts from his sister, Marcie Southerland, and nephew, Branan Southerland. Both are attorneys. Deputy tax assessor Angela Brown reported $9,182.70 raised and $31.83 left on hand. No report was received for deputy tax assessor Ben Luckett, who reported $10,357.70 raised through September, or for Republican Mike Caruthers. Luckett and Tanner are independents; Brown is a Democrat.

Tax Collector Antonia Flaggs-Jones has raised $4,459 so far, showing a donation from John A. Hennessey. Funds for Republican challenger Patty Mekus total $6,170, including “several individual gifts” adding up to $225, a report said.

On the legislative level, state Rep. George Flaggs, D-Vicksburg, reported $96,704.38 in donations to date, with $42,124.45 spent so far. A $3,000 donation from the Mississippi Bankers Association PAC is listed, as is a $1,000 gift from Ameristar Casino. Also listed is a $250 gift from KCS Rail PAC. No report was received for Republican Sam Smith.

Among supervisor races, District 4 Supervisor Bill Lauderdale and Democrat Casey Fisher stepped up efforts in October. Lauderdale, who seeks a sixth, nonconsecutive term, reported $11,560 raised, including donations from Golding, Dan Fordice and County Engineer John McKee. Fisher specified none of his $5,806 in gifts thus far on Tuesday’s report.

In District 1, Republican nominee John Arnold showed $9,116.76 raised and spent thus far, with a zero balance on hand. A $757.13 gift from himself is noted. Arnold, who beat incumbent David McDonald in the Aug. 23 primary runoff, faces independents Jerry Briggs and Reed Birdsong on Tuesday. A report was not received for either man.

In District 2, incumbent William Banks reported no activity through Oct. 23 and $4,250 thus far. No reports were received for Republican Trey Smith or independent De Reul.

Charles Selmon, a Democrat seeking a fifth term representing District 3, reported $1,395 raised for the period and $5,194 to date. Contributions for the period came from McKee, $500, Larry Lambiotte and Fred Farrell, both at $300. No report was received from Jim Stirgus Jr., the district’s school board member, running for supervisor as an independent.

District 5 Supervisor Richard George, running for a fifth nonconsecutive term, reported $800 raised for the period and $2,500 to date. A report for challenger Joe Wooley showed $350 raised and $2,016.53 spent. No reports were received for Ellis Tillotson and J.W. Carroll. All are independents.