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Whitley Out-Raises Thomas, Godley Bests Blackburn, Mercer is Cash King

Dennis Mitchell
Election Correspondent

Update 10/8: Donna Whitley submitted an amended 35-day campaign finance report yesterday after noticing a $50 donation was listed as $5,000 and an $1,100 donation as $2,200. Whitley told us in an email that after she noticed the mistakes, as reported in the Daily Reflector, she called her treasurer, CPA Ronnie Greene, and they “went over everything with a fine-tooth comb to make sure there were no other money mistakes.” They also corrected a few addresses and one person’s type of employment. Her total raised this election ($21,233) still exceeds that of all other mayoral candidates. Her amended report can be found with the others, at the link at the bottom of the article. 

Update 10/5: Rose Glover has submitted her 35-day report to the Board of Elections. You can find it, with the other reports, by following the link at the bottom of this article. Kandie Smith has submitted hers as well. Find it with the others.  

The 35-day campaign finance reports are in and there are a few surprises.

Photo: Great Beyond (Flickr Creative Commons)

Photo: Great Beyond (Flickr Creative Commons)

The biggest: Mayoral challenger Donna Whitney raised $27,084.50. Incumbent Allen Thomas, despite starting the cycle with $1,995.40 in the bank, has raised just $6,000 since filing for re-election in July, a far cry from the $50,000 he mustered in the last election cycle.

Whitley’s campaign spent a chunk of funds to print and mail a full-color flyer to voters. Whitley currently has $15,419.62, still nearly twice Thomas’ total of $8,045.40. Both candidates’ receipts came from contributions by individuals.

Not as surprising is McLean Godley’s haul, besting incumbent Marion Blackburn in the District 3 race. Godley raised $9,206.39 compared to Blackburn’s $2,895. Normally when a challenger out-raises an incumbent it is cause for celebration. Blackburn, however, was vastly out-raised by her opponent in 2013 and fought back with a tremendous and successful “get out the vote” effort. She has proven that her base of support is strong, and that it will take more than money to pull off a victory against her. Both candidates spent about two grand on operating expenses. At the 35-day mark, Godley reported cash on hand totaling $7,194.90; Blackburn, $2,048.33.

At-Large incumbent Calvin Mercer has proven again that he is the fundraising king. No candidate in our city’s history raised as much money as he did in the previous municipal election, totaling well over $60,000. He began this cycle with $12,055.92 in the bank, then raised an additional $18,150. After nearly $10,000 in expenses, Mercer closed this reporting period boasting a campaign war chest of $20,623.41. His challenger, Erik Anderson, raised a total of $147 and has a $210 cash-on-hand balance (as disclosed in his four-page financial report. Mercer’s was 48 pages long). In a city-wide race, money matters, especially when you are the challenger—so this race may be over, barring some tremendous grassroots effort by Anderson.

The District 4 race, which has been the subject of recent news due to the attention-grabbing challenger Terrence Boardman, is also interesting, but for different reasons. Boardman has stated that he will not accept any contributions. The incumbent, Rick Smiley began with $5,198.54 in his coffers, raised $1,875, spent $3,439 and is left with a cash-on-hand balance of $3,634.54. Boardman does not have the traditional challenge of needing money to garner name recognition due to his frequent local news headlines and letters to the editor, so Smiley’s small fundraising totals may not be an advantage in this race.

D5 incumbent Rick Croskey added $4,685 to his initial balance of $1,270.80, lightening it with $450-worth of operating expenses, leaving him with $5,505.80. Challenger P.J. Connelly started with $100, raised $600 and, after $673.16 in expenses, is left with $26.84.

The only political action committee to submit a financial report is Common Ground. It began the period with $665, raised $980 and spent $673.68 on a gathering and printing, and finished the reporting period with $972.

According to Joanne Robertson at the Pitt County Board of Elections, Angela Shackleford Williams (at-large), Patrice Barrow (D1) and Terrence Boardman (D4) reported they will not raise $1,000, so are not required to file financial reports. Ernest Reeves withdrew his declaration that he would not raise $1,000 on September 29, and will be required to file the Pre-Election Report, due October 26. Kandie Smith (D1) and Rose Glover (D2) have not yet submitted their reports.

Don’t just take our word for it. See the 35-day financial reports yourself.


Responses (2)

  1. Teresa Baro says:

    I’m curious…why are some candidates permitted to not submit this information? Were they given extensions?

    • Anthony Noel says:

      Thanks for your comment, Teresa. The last ‘graph explains a bit more about who must file and who is exempt. Based on info from the BOE, it would appear that Smith and Glover’s initial finance reports are still due (i.e., late). Reeves, now that he has notified the BOE that he expects to raise over $1k, will have to file only the pre-election report due at the end of October.

      Barrow, Boardman and Williams remain off the reporting hook; they do not expect to raise $1k.

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