County Mayor’s race tops campaign spending

Published 5:49 pm Wednesday, July 11, 2018

As the county prepares for the County General Election, several local candidates met the deadline for the second round of campaign finance reports this week.

State law requires candidates to file paperwork detailing the donations they have received and expenditures they have made in their campaigns. Election law also requires that donations and expenditures over set amounts be itemized individually instead of lumped together.

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The reports which were due to be filed on Tuesday cover donations and expenditures from April 22 through June 20. This period covers part of the election cycle for the County Primary held on May 1 as well as part of the time frame for the General Election which will take place on August 2. Because the filing period covers part of the Primary Election timeframe, those candidates who ran campaigns during the primary but did not advance to the General Election are still required to complete this round of campaign finance reports under state law.

The Elizabethton Star obtained copies of the campaign finance reports for those candidates seeking election to county offices. The following candidates turned in paperwork to meet the deadline: Rusty Barnett, Leon Humphrey, Larry Shell, Randal Lewis, Walter Andrews Jr., Dexter Lunceford, Steve Stevenson, Johnny Blankenship, Mary Gouge, Patsy Lewis, Jarrod Ellis, Jessica Markland, and Roger Colbaugh. The following candidates were slated to turn in campaign finance reports but had not done so when the deadline passed on Tuesday afternoon: Danny Ward, Rocky Croy, Bruce Pearce, and Adam Townsend.

According to the documents obtained by the Elizabethton Star, the race for Carter County Mayor has drawn the highest spending levels. Rusty Barnett captured the Republican nomination for Mayor during the May 1 primary.

Barnett was the leader in spending during the four-man race in the primary, reporting expenditures of $15,423.74. Incumbent Mayor Leon Humphrey, who came in second in the primary, was the second-highest spender, reporting expenditures of $14,804.65.

Since losing the primary election, Humphrey launched a write-in campaign in an attempt to retain his position as County Mayor.

In this second round of campaign finance reports, Humphrey has now surpassed Barnett in campaign expenditures in his re-election bid.

For the second quarter report, Humphrey claimed expenditures of $2,231.56, bringing his aggregate spending for the campaign to $17,036.21.

Barnett listed second quarter expenses of $917.39, bringing his aggregate campaign spending to $16,341.13.

Both candidates listed advertising and campaign materials in their purchases, and Humphrey also reported expenditures for a “campaign rally.”

Barnett and Humphrey both closed out their campaign treasuries with this report, stating they will have no campaign expenditures beyond the June 30 cut off date for second quarter reporting.

The race for Carter County Sheriff is the second-highest local race as far as campaign spending.

Independent candidate Stevenson is top spender in the Sheriff’s race. In his first quarter campaign finance report, Stevenson listed $924.17. Since Stevenson did not compete in the primary, the majority of his spending occurred during the time frame covered by the second quarter report.

In the most recent report, Stevenson reported expenditures of $6,831.54, bringing his campaign aggregate total to $7,755.71.

Incumbent Sheriff Dexter Lunceford reported more expenditures during the primary, when he fended off a challenge from Rocky Croy, than during the second quarter report.

In his first quarter report, Lunceford claimed expenditures of $3,466.99. For the second quarter, Lunceford reported expenditures of $895.63, bringing his aggregate campaign expenses to $4,362.62.

Both Lunceford and Stevenson left their campaign treasuries open when filing this report, so both candidates will have to file a third quarter campaign report detailing any additional expenditures and closing out their campaign finances. Those reports are due to be filed by Oct. 10.