Campaign contribution reports filed last week by candidates for the Columbia County commission showed a large disparity between the incumbents and their challengers.
Commission Chairman Ron Cross easily outpaced opponent Brett McGuire in raising money for the primary race to be held Tuesday.
As of Thursday, Cross has raised more than $171,000 in campaign contributions, more than eight times that of McGuire.
Campaign contributions are measured in cash donations and the value of services offered to the campaign, called in-kind donations.
Most of Cross' contribution have been in cash donations, the highest being $2,400 from the Coalition for Quality Government. He also has received $2,000 from District 1 Commissioner and banker Ron Thigpen personally or through his election committee, $500 from banker Dan Blanton, $500 from Realtor and businessman E.G. Meybohm, $500 from the Pollard Lumber Co., $2,000 from Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial Inc., $1,000 from Zaxby's franchise owner George Duehring, $500 from Prather Construction Co., $1,000 from builder and restaurateur Mark Herbert, and $500 from Commissioner Trey Allen's election fund.
Cross thus far has spent about $132,000, mostly on billboards, mail-outs and signs.
Though Cross has raised substantially more in cash donations than his opponent, McGuire has collected more from in-kind contributors.
During the most recent reporting period between April and July, McGuire received more than $10,000 in in-kind contributions for items such as office supplies, signs, T-shirts, office space, and for fundraising events.
McGuire's cash contributions were spent on signs, printing, tent rentals and newspaper advertisements. He still has nearly $3,800 left as of the end of the reporting period.
In the District 4 race, incumbent Scott Dean also has raised much more than challenger David Payne, but on a smaller scale.
Dean thus far has raised more than $26,000 to Payne's $1,775.
As they did for Cross' campaign, Duehring, Allen, the Coalition for Quality Government and Prather Construction gave to Dean. He also has received $1,000 from the People for Barry Fleming, a Harlem attorney and former state representative.
Though Dean has only about $8,700 remaining in his campaign coffers, his only listed expense on the forms provided by the county Board of Elections office is $195 for the qualifying fee. During the current reporting periods, his only expenditures listed were those from his previous campaign.
Like Dean, Payne's only listed expenditure as of the reporting date was for the qualifying fee. He still has about $1,500 left for his campaign.
Most of Payne's campaign cash, $1,050, has come from loans from his wife, Debra, who is listed as Payne's campaign chairwoman.
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