Current and former candidates for elected offices in Columbia County filed campaign disclosure forms last week with the Board of Elections.
A modern adage is that the candidate best at raising funds typically wins elections, with fundraising becoming a yardstick for measuring community support.
By that measurement, District 2 school board candidate Kristi Baker is leading her opponent, Carl Schluter, heading into the Nov. 2 general election.
As of the Thursday filing deadline, Baker had raised $2,575 in cash and about $1,500 more in in-kind contributions, which can include office space, signs or campaign literature.
Baker's contributors in-clude county commission Chairman Ron Cross, former Commissioner Tom Mercer, and the Coalition for Quality Government.
Since Mercer's contribution included more than $1,300 in yard signs, Baker has not yet spent any of her campaign war chest.
By comparison, Schluter has raised more than $4,100, but about $2,800 of that is from loans he gave to himself. His only listed contribution is $500 from Augusta-based Alternative Construction and Environmental Solutions Inc.
Schluter's $2,400 in expenditures have been on signs, reception supplies, printing and consulting fees.
Lee Benedict dropped out of the school board race, but he still will be listed on the ballot and had to file a disclosure form.
In all, Benedict raised $535 for his campaign, with $200 coming from George Shearer of Martinez. His disclosure form shows no expenditures.
Though Cross and commission District 4 incumbent Scott Dean are unopposed for the general election, they did face opposition in the Republican primary from Brett McGuire and David Payne, respectively.
Those candidates also had to file disclosure forms.
During the most recent reporting period, Cross raised $12,560. That money was added to his war chest from previous campaigns for a total of nearly $184,000 collected.
Cross' contributors included Windmill Plantation, state Sen. Bill Jackson and Magistrate Bobby Christine. His largest expense, more than $11,600 in total, was to Southeastern Marketing for radio commercials and mailings.
Cross also gave $1,500 to gubernatorial candidate Nathan Deal's campaign, $1,000 to U.S. Rep. Paul Broun's campaign, $300 to Baker, $1,050 to daughter Kelley Sleeper for graphics design work, and more than $3,300 to his wife, Jan, for secretarial work and office expenses.
McGuire raised about $3,200 in the most recent reporting period to add to his total of more than $24,000. His expenses were confined to advertising and Web site management.
Payne nearly doubled his war chest by raising $1,125 in this period for an overall total of $2,900. Like McGuire, his expenses were limited to advertising.
Dean's disclosure form was not immediately available. Although Thursday was the deadline, the forms only had to be postmarked by that date.
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