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VOL. 130 | NO. 141 | Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Memphis Candidates Prepare To Spend

By Bill Dries

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How much a candidate raises in an election season attracts a lot of attention, and the second-quarter fundraising numbers for the Oct. 8 Memphis elections are still trickling out.

Some campaign finance reports from candidates on the October Memphis ballot still haven’t been filed. Those that have show contrasting dollar figures fueling the political ambitions of those in the 15 races on this year’s ballot.

(Daily News/Bill Dries)

The reports were due July 10 but some are still arriving at the Shelby County Election Commission website. And in some cases, the reports are incomplete, showing amounts raised but not amounts spend and on hand as of July 1.

Among the seven council incumbents seeking re-election, Super District 9 Position 3 incumbent Reid Hedgepeth had a $119,656 campaign war chest as July began. He raised $93,550 during the second quarter and spent $10,500.

His contributions included $5,000 each from the FedEx and Red State Political Action Committees as well as $1,500 each from eight donors who listed their workplace as McVean Trading, including Charles McVean, founder of the commodities trading business.

Hedgepeth’s total compared to $2,097 cash on hand for challenger Zachary Ferguson. Hedgepeth’s other challenger Stephen Christian claimed he is exempt from disclosing campaign finances.

Super District 9 Position 1 incumbent Kemp Conrad reported raising $46,450 going into July.

In the open race for Position 2 in the same Super District, the campaign dollar figures were a contrast.

FedEx sales executive Philip Spinosa reported raising $164,940 in the quarter, the most raised by any other council candidate and more than six-figure amounts raised by A C Wharton Jr. and Jim Strickland in the mayoral race.

Six FedEx executives contributed $1,500 each to Spinosa’s campaign. The report doesn’t show how much he spent in the quarter or his cash on hand as of July 1.

Meanwhile, rival candidate and labor union leader Paul Shaffer raised $26,015 for the quarter including $5,000 each from the political actions committees of the Memphis Building Trades Council, Steamfitters Local 614 and the Memphis Labor Council. Shaffer spent $11,738 for the quarter and had $14,277 at the start of July.

In the same race, former Shelby County Schools board member Stephanie Gatewood raised $1,010 in the second quarter, spent $339 and had $671 at the start of July. And Tim Cook raised $100 and had that amount on hand July 1.

Super District 8 Position 1 council incumbent Joe Brown raised $22,925 last quarter including a $7,600 contribution from the Memphis Police Association and $5,000 from the International Association of Firefighters.

Both unions made identical contributions to District 8 Position 2 incumbent Janis Fullilove.

The newest council candidate, Greenscape CEO Frank Colvett, got in the race for District 2 on Tuesday, July 14, the same day incumbent Bill Boyd announced he would not seek re-election. Colvett reported having $397 on hand at the start of April, when he wasn’t a contender. He raised $9,103 during the second quarter but spent $9,500 to repay an old loan made to himself.

He started July with Boyd still expected to run and no money in his campaign account.

Meanwhile, District 2 rival Rachel Knox began the quarter with nothing and had $4,647 on hand going into July.

Rival Jim Tomasik reported $3,428 in cash on hand for July. And Detric Golden, who settled on the District 2 race after first declaring for mayor and then a super district seat, showed a loan of $4,714 on his report but no cash on hand as of July 1.

Meanwhile six council candidates reported no money raised, none spent and none on hand for the summer campaign.

Mayoral contender Sharon Webb was among those with no money in her account as of April 1 but who finished the quarter with some amount of money. She finished the quarter with $100, the lowest amount of any mayoral contender with a balance.

William Chism, running for City Court Clerk, reported $8 on hand at the start of the quarter. But he raised $18 during the quarter, reported no spending and yet had a balance of $18 at the quarter’s end.

PROPERTY SALES 62 288 2,619
MORTGAGES 52 197 1,783