Tag Archives: campaigh finance

New mystery PACs enter Memphis mayor’s race

Little has been made public about two new PACS trying to influence the Memphis election, reports the Commercial Appeal. One is called Neighborhood Alliance PAC and has at least filed a campaign disclosure.

The other, called Citizens for a Brighter Memphis, hasn’t done that much, but hit mailboxes in recent days with as many as three mail pieces attacking mayoral candidate Jim Strickland.

It prompted a pointed response from Strickland as a contentious mayor’s race traveled down a new road: deciphering the origins of outside money.

Third-party groups’ spending would be in addition to what’s already believed to be a record-breaking amount of money in this year’s mayor’s race — nearly $1.6 million raised just for the Strickland and Mayor A C Wharton campaigns alone.

Citizens for a Brighter Memphis’ mail pieces claim Strickland cut school funding and that he would “weaken our police force.” One mailer urges recipients to vote for Wharton.

…No group called Citizens for a Brighter Memphis is registered with the Shelby County Election Commission or the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance. The only known pro-Wharton political action committee is Memphis First PAC, which had not filed a disclosure as of Friday afternoon.

…Meanwhile, Neighborhood Alliance PAC’s Thursday financial disclosure with the Shelby County Election Commission still doesn’t tell much about who is behind that group, but it does show it’s well-financed.

The political action committee reported $113,000 in receipts and $95,355 in spending on the election in September, leaving $17,645 to spend in the week before the race. The group formally disclosed in the filing that its expenses are in opposition to Wharton.

Wharton leads Memphis mayor money race

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton’s re-election campaign raised $412,260 in the financial reporting period that loosely mirrored the third quarter of the year while his leading fundraising opponent, City Council member Jim Strickland, raised $177,610.

Further from the Commercial Appeal:

Counting the nearly identical campaign balances Strickland and Wharton had at the midpoint of last year ($117,304 for Strickland; $115,786 for Wharton), that brings the total fundraising to almost $1.6 million for just those two candidates.

Wharton’s total is $947,892; Strickland’s is $622,285.

The two men are engaged in a fierce — and expensive — battle waged on fronts such as television ads, radio spots, consultants and poll workers. Strickland and Wharton reported spending slightly more than $1 million combined ($619,160 by Wharton; $422,553 for Strickland) in the reporting period, which ran from July 1 to Sept. 28.

A disclosure for a third high-profile candidate, Harold Collins, was not posted at the Shelby County Election Commission’s website as of the close of business Thursday. In late August, Collins said his campaign raised about $175,000.

Memphis Police Association president Mike Williams reported raising $37,661 as of Sept. 21, bringing his fundraising total to $43,864. But Williams filed in advance of an email to candidates from the Election Commission that changed the reporting period to end on Sept. 28, not a week earlier. Reports were due Thursday.

Campfield loans his campaign $40K; Opponent Briggs loans his campaign $122K

State Sen. Stacey Campfield has loaned his campaign $40,000 while Knox County Commissioner Richard Briggs, his leading opponent in next Thursday’s Republican primary, has loaned his campaign $122,000, new financial reports show.

The self-financing, reported in disclosures covering the period July 1 through July 28, roughly match the overall $3-to-$1 spending advantage that Briggs holds over Campfield in the race since its outset.

Since Briggs launched his campaign last year, reports filed with the Registry of Election Finance show he had spent a total of about $334,000 going into the final days of the campaign. Campfield had spent just over $98,000 in the same period.

A third candidate in the race, Mike Alford, reported a total of zero receipts and zero contributions.

A breakdown of the Campfield and Briggs reports:

-Briggs has raised, during his entire campaign, $225,964 in contributions and added the $122,000 loan in July for total campaign receipts of about $348,000. About two-thirds of his total spending came last month. He still had $14,564 cash on hand on July 28.

-Campfield began last year with $10,431 in his campaign account. He has since added $55,320 in contributions and the $40,000 loan last month. At the end of the disclosure period, he still had $6,953 cash on hand.

During the July period covered by the reports, Campfield the two were somewhat evenly matched in collecting money, though both in modest amounts – Campfield raised $15,320; Briggs $16,095.

Typically in legislative races, incumbents raise far more money from political action committees than challengers. In the Senate District 7 race, however, both Campfield and Briggs have gathered PAC money and Briggs appears to have an edge in PAC money.

In the last period, for example, Briggs collected funds from PACs representing lobbying firms, hospitals, telecommunications, realtors, dentists and ophthalmologists – physicians who treat eye ailments . Campfield got money from PACs representing lawyers, bankers, gun rights advocates and optometrists, who regularly fight with ophthalmologists at the legislature over the extent they can treat eye problems even though not licensed physicians.

Both men have also benefited from independent expenditures.

Americans for Prosperity, a group founded and funded by billionaire conservative brothers Charles and David Koch, is airing radio ads supporting Campfield and urging voters to thank him for voting to “stop Obamacare” and opposing Common Core standards. Because the ads do not explicitly ask that people vote for Campfield, they are not considered political ads under relevant campaign finance rules and the expenditures occurring after July 1 – as apparently all have — need not be reported until well after the election.

On the other hand, a newly-formed PAC called Advance Tennessee – funded by donations from traditional donors to GOP political causes – has spent about $8,000 on mailers criticizing Campfield and Nashville attorney Lewis Laska, editor of a book on Tennessee’s Constitution, has spent about $2,000 sending post cards to district voters urging them to vote against the incumbent.