Mayoral race total costly

Published 11:46 pm Thursday, May 22, 2008

NATCHEZ — Signs, advertisements, bumper stickers, magnets — the full range of items purchased throughout the campaign season racks up to a pretty pricey bill for some mayoral and alderman candidates.

As of May 13, the deadline for candidate financial reports, the mayoral candidates had spent between $30,000 and $50,000 each during their campaigns.

City Clerk Donnie Holloway said for a mayoral campaign, that’s actually low.

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While many a candidate will end up paying out of their own pocket, a great portion of campaign funds spent come from donations.

Mayoral candidate Jake Middleton has received $33,635 in contributions.

“I’m still continuing to get donations into my campaign,” he said.

Most of the money Middleton has spent has gone to advertising.

“I used all of the media — TV, radio, newspaper,” he said.

He also has been renting billboard space as part of his campaigning.

The billboards he rented were of the smaller variety, as he said there were not many available large billboards in optimal places.

Middleton said he’s also spent money on push cards, stationery and bumper stickers.

He said he could have never had a successful campaign had it not been for the contributions he received.

“I’ve had a tremendous amount of support,” he said. “It’s been very humbling to know that people have continuously called to help.”

Mayoral hopeful Chick Graning has received $29,000 in contributions.

“Mainly my contributions have come from local people and individual contributions,” he said.

He has received some donations from local businesses, also.

He was surprised when he received money from some of his former football teammates from Georgia Tech.

“(That has) pleased me to no end,” he said. “That’s a real warm feeling since that was 45 years ago.”

The money he’s received he said he’s spread around and there was really no top-heavy spending.

He’s placed ads in local newspapers and recorded a radio advertisement and a TV advertisement.

He’s also purchased push cards, signs, magnetic signs to put on cars and more.

He also has a billboard on Homochitto Street that he’s been renting for two and half months.

Mayor Phillip West in his campaign received $48,582 in contributions that came from both local and out of town, he said.

Ward 3 incumbent Bob Pollard has reported a balance of zero since campaigning began.

Mostly because the Republican candidate has been running unopposed so far and will face candidate Gwen Ball in the June 3 general election.

This is the reason he said he hasn’t spent any money.

“I wasn’t in the primary,” he said. “I waited until the primary was over before I came on strong.”

He said he placed signs he had from the last election during the first legs of the campaign season, but ever since the end of the primary, Pollard said he’s been shelling out money for signs and push cards and advertising.

“I’ve spent all my money since that time,” he said.

Campaign materials can range in price, but Democratic Ward 5 candidate Mark Fortenbery said he spent $300 in postage for his mail outs, bought magnets at 30 cents a piece, paid $100 for 12 T-shirts and $300 on only 100 signs.

“It gets expensive,” Fortenbery said.