Most campaign dollars stay local
The 10 candidates in Boone and Blowing Rock who filed campaign finance reports with the Watauga County Board of Elections Oct. 1 had spent $10,966.83 as of Sept. 24, with $6,273.39, or about 60 percent, going to businesses in Watauga County, $3,196.25, or 30 percent, going to online or out-of-county merchants and $1,010.02 — 10 percent — going to the U.S. Postal Service.
Other expenses included the $5 filing fees paid by each candidate.
However, those figures only include the candidates who indicated in filing documents that their campaign committees would spend more than $1,000.
Those spending $1,000 or less are not required to file regular campaign finance reports.
In Boone, mayoral candidates Andy Ball and John Mena and town council candidates Rennie Brantz, Quint David, James Milner, Jennifer Peña and Mark Templeton filed the required reports for over-the-threshold candidates.
Last week, Boone Town Council candidate Matthew Long also withdrew his certification to spend $1,000 or less, joining the rest of the Boone council candidates in doing so.
In Blowing Rock, council candidates Sue Sweeting and Laurin Carter have already raised more than $1,000, as has mayoral candidate Dan Phillips, who is looking to unseat longtime incumbent J.B. Lawrence.
Lawrence spent more than $1,000 in his 2011 race against Tommy Klutz, but thus far has not elected to exceed the threshold in 2013.
No candidates in Seven Devils and Beech Mountain indicated they would exceed the spending threshold.
One month before the Nov. 5 Election Day, candidates have spent the most money on promotional signs and stickers.
The campaigns of Ball, Brantz and Peña paid Pennsylvania-based Capitol Promotions a combined total of $2,384.65.
“My campaign has used Capitol Promotions for yard signs and bumper stickers because they are a trusted union printer,” Ball said. “All my other materials come from local printers.”
Ball also noted that he and other progressive candidates support locally owned businesses through the Watauga County Democratic Party’s “cash mob” events.
Precision Printing of Boone has seen $2,184.11 from the campaigns of Templeton and Phillips.
Precision Printing owner Paul Ollis declined to comment for this article.
Other top election beneficiaries thus far include political consultant Jesse Presnell, paid $937.50 by Sweeting’s campaign, and artist Tommy McGhee, paid $700 for graphic design work for Ball’s campaign materials.
The 10 over-the-threshold candidates raised $30,916 and had a total of $19,168.11 remaining to be spent as of Sept. 24.
As of Friday, the finance reports had not yet been audited by the Watauga County Board of Elections.