Donations heading into primaries may be light, but some races are seeing sizable spending

State House, Senate candidates reporting few contributions

By JAMES SWIFT
Posted 12/31/69

By and large, Bartow County’s State House and Senate candidates are reporting low contribution numbers to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (GGTCFC) — although …

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Donations heading into primaries may be light, but some races are seeing sizable spending

State House, Senate candidates reporting few contributions

Posted
By and large, Bartow County’s State House and Senate candidates are reporting low contribution numbers to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (GGTCFC) — although in certain races, considerable campaign expenditures are being made.

While District 14 State Sen. Bruce Thompson (R, White) has reported $100,932.23 in total contributions to date, his campaign reported $0 in contributions over the previous GGTCFC reporting period. Still, Thompson’s campaign reported $18,790 in itemized expenditures over that same timeframe, including a $6,500 payment to Roswell-based RTA Strategy for what is described as “campaign finance consulting and reporting services” on April 1.

Thompson’s campaign also reported spending $2,500 on services from Atlanta-based Five Points Consulting on April 10 and making a $1,000 donation to the Committee to Elect Charlie Bethel on April 30. Bethel, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia, is up for reelection on June 9, facing opposition at the ballot box from former District 54 State Rep. Beth Beskin.

Additionally, the campaign reported making $5,000 in payments to Cartersville-based Willow and Co. for campaign consulting services spanning from Feb. 1 to March 31. 

In a campaign contribution disclosure report filed on May 3, District 14 State Senate candidate Travis Johnson reported about $1,200 in total itemized contributions of $100 or less. Factoring in an additional $800 in campaign contributions and a $400 loan he gave his own campaign on March 2, Johnson’s total contributions over the previous reporting period came in at $2,459.91.

The Democratic contender reported $1,380.94 in campaign expenses over the previous reporting period, leaving his campaign with a net balance on hand of $1,078.57. Those expenditures include $400 in Democratic Party of Georgia qualifying fees on March 6 and $500 spent on Democratic Party of Georgia ”data” expenses on March 24.

Another Democratic challenger for Thompson’s seat, William T. Schenck, filed a declaration of intent (DOI) to accept campaign contributions on March 5 but withdrew from the race on March 17.

District 52 State Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R, Rome) reported $207,011.64 in total campaign contributions to date, but just $24.73 collected over the previous reporting period, stemming from interest earned on his campaign account per a filing dated May 7.

The incumbent’s total expenditures over the previous reporting period totaled $7,898.49, leaving the campaign with a net balance on hand of $199,114.15. Among the expenditures reported includes $1,882.20 given to Atlanta-based Altitude luxury apartments for housing expenses (March 31) and a $1,000 donation to the Committee to Elect Justice Charlie Bethel (April 21.) Hufstetler’s campaign also reported making a $1,000 donation to the campaign of John Wilkinson, a Republican candidate running for Georgia’ 9th Congressional District, on March 31 and another $1,000 donation to the campaign of John Cowan, a Republican candidate run-in for Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, on March 7.

Charles DeYoung, a Democratic challenger to Hufstetler’s State Senate seat, filed a DOI on March 11. As of late May, the GGTCFC had no records on file listing any contributions or expenses for his campaign.

District 16 State Rep. Trey Kelley (R, Cedartown) lists $281,516.27 in total contributions to date, but $0 received over the previous reporting period. In a filing dated May 7, his campaign reported $50,084.49 in expenditures over the last reporting period, leaving a net balance on hand of $64,879.90.

Kelley’s campaign expenditures include $15,000 given to Five Points Consulting, LLC on March 12, followed by another $12,448.58 payment to the firm on April 8. His campaign also reported spending $6,000 on RTA Strategy campaign finance consulting services on April 29 and $2,815.46 on services from Atlanta-based Tama X, LLC for what is described as “political data" on Feb. 5.

Republican challenger Jennifer Lankford Hulsey, of Cedartown, reported $17,178.80 in contributions over the previous reporting period, of which about $3,800 stemmed from individual donations totaling $100 or less. 

A disclosure report dated April 30 indicates she received a $2,000 contribution from Taylorsville resident Richard Harris on March 12 and another $2,000 contribution from Tallapoosa resident Ronnie Ridley on March 13. That same day, her campaign reported receiving a $1,000 contribution from Taylorsville-based Carroll Fertilizer, LLC. 

Over the previous reporting period, Hulsey’s campaign reported $11,898.43 in expenses, leaving a net balance on hand of $5,280.37. Her campaign expenditures include $7,564.83 spent on services from Cedartown’s Parker Printing from March 17-April 23. 

There is one Democratic challenger to Kelley’s seat. Although candidate Lyndsay Arrendale filed a DOI on March 10, as of late May the GGTCFC had no campaign contributions or expenditures reports from the candidate on file. 

Bartow’s two other State Representatives — District 14’s Mitchell Scoggins (R, Cartersville) and District 15’s Matthew Gambill (R, Cartersville) — are facing no opposition in June 9’s Republican primaries, and with no Democratic challengers vying for their respective seats, will run unopposed in November’s general election. 

In an amended report dated April 30, Scoggins reported $24,580.31 in total contributions to date, but $0 collected over the previous reporting period. His campaign’s total expenditures over the previous reporting period was listed as $409 — including a $400 Georgia Republican Party qualifying fee payment on Feb. 27 — leaving his campaign with a net balance on hand of $8,889.19.

In a filing dated April 30, Gambill reported $63,005.31 in total contributions to date, with $0 received over the prior reporting period. His campaign’s total expenditures over the previous reporting period were tabbed at $1,338.03, leaving a net balance on hand of $41,872.12. Among the reported expenditures, Gambill’s campaign lists paying a $400 Georgia Republican Party qualifying fee on Feb. 28 and making a $500 donation to the Bartow County Saddle Club that same day.