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VOL. 130 | NO. 73 | Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wharton, Strickland Top $250,000 in Campaign Accounts

By Bill Dries

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As they prepare to pull qualifying petitions for the October ballot, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and challenger Jim Strickland each have more than $250,000 in their campaign accounts.

Meanwhile, challenger Harold Collins, who formally entered the race just last week, has more than $51,000 available from his two campaign finance accounts.

Campaign finance reports filed with the Shelby County Election Commission this week for the first quarter of 2015 show Wharton with a balance of $366,291, with $185,040 of that raised during the first three months of the calendar year.

Strickland, who is a member of the Memphis City Council, had a balance of $284,885, of which he raised $122,050 from January 1 to March 31.

Collins, through his committee “Harold Collins for Memphis 2015,” reported a balance of $25,292 and raising $1,885 during the first quarter. His other campaign account, “Committee to Elect Harold Collins,” reported a balance of $26,116 for the fourth quarter of 2014.

Collins, also a city council member, has said he will need to raise “six figures” to be competitive in the mayor’s race. But he added he will conduct his campaign differently than Wharton or Strickland. He acknowledged both of their campaigns have focused on locking up financial and other support from the business community.

Meanwhile, Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams reported a balance of $2,182 for the first quarter when his mayoral campaign opened its campaign account.

The list of contributors for Strickland and Wharton showed lots of familiar names.

Wharton’s set of donors for $1,500 each included Chase Carlisle, of the Carlisle Group, the development company involved in the Chisca Hotel renovation and with plans for the nearby One Beale luxury high-rise project.

Wharton himself and his wife, attorney Ruby Wharton, each donated $1,500 to the cause.

Former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Sr., who has a long association with Wharton, also donated $1,500 along with philanthropists J.R. “Pitt” Hyde and Barbara Hyde as well as East Beale Street Development principal JW Gibson and his wife, Kathy Buckman Gibson, president and chief operating officer of Buckman International.

The AutoZone Political Action Committee contributed $2,500 to Wharton’s campaign as well.

Strickland’s set of $1,500 donors included attorney and former city council member John Bobango of the Farris Bobango law firm; Benjamin Orgel, manager of Tower Ventures; and Edward J. Dobbs, president of Dobbs Management Services.

Bank of Bartlett President Robert Byrd also contributed $1,500 along with Turley Cotton owner Calvin Turley and the Wiseman Bray law firm.

Meanwhile, CBRE chairman and CEO Kevin Adams contributed $1,500 to Wharton’s re-election effort and $1,000 to Strickland’s challenge after contributing $500 in an earlier quarter to Strickland’s campaign.

None of the campaigns have spent much at this point compared to the large amounts they will invest in advertising and printing closer to the early voting period in September and election day in October.

Wharton reported spending $19,838 for the quarter and Strickland’s expenses for the quarter were $18,759. Collins showed $1,885 in expenses for the quarter and Williams spent $26.67.

PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BUILDING PERMITS 201 554 15,915
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396