Metro candidates are spending tens of thousands of dollars on television commercials, campaign mail-pieces and staffers — and raising thousands more — as early voting nears its conclusion and Election Day on Aug. 4 draws closer.
In his march toward presumed victory against three unknown challengers, Mayor Karl Dean raised nearly $55,000 between July 1 and July 25, a period of fundraising totals candidates were required to release to the Davidson County Election Commission by Thursday.
During those same three-plus weeks, Dean’s re-election campaign spent $166,000, which included $135,000 to purchase television time to air three different commercials. Heading into Election Day, Dean has a campaign war chest of $361,694 on hand.
“Mayor Dean is appreciative of the broad support he continues to receive,” Dean’s re-election spokesman Tom Hayden said, adding that the mayor is “focused on driving turnout.”
To no surprise, the council’s at-large race — which includes several high-profile names — is generating much of the cash flow. At-large Councilwoman Megan Barry’s campaign spent more than $68,000 after July 1, which included a major television ad buy. Barry raised $21,180 during the disclosure period and has $12,076 on hand.
At-large Councilman Ronnie Steine’s campaign, which has also released a TV ad, spent nearly $50,000 in July, while raising $21,800 for the month. Steine still has more than $11,000 to spend yet.
“It’s always a sign of the strength of a campaign when you’ve got lots of people investing in your effort,” Steine said. “I’m very pleased and cautiously optimistic.”
Councilman Tim Garrett, the only at-large member who emerged victorious without a September runoff four years ago, spent $44,478 this month, which included a commercial in which he touts his support for the Metro-owned fairgrounds. He has only $1,683 on hand despite raising $21,150 in July.
Councilman Charlie Tygard spent $21,339 during the 25-day stretch, putting him with $20,891 on hand at the moment. Tygard raised $12,845 between July 1 and July 25. Meanwhile, Councilman Jerry Maynard said he has $4,320 on hand after spending more than $30,000 between July 11 and July 25. (Before the previous fundraising deadline, Maynard disclosed totals for more days than required.)
Attorney Renard Francois, who has released a commercial, has $25,881 on hand following a $16,060 fundraising effort this month. Francois’ campaign spent more than $25,000 for the month.
Other cash-on-hand totals for at-large candidates are as follows: Councilwoman Vivian Wilhoite with $17,339; Councilman Sam Coleman with $2,229; Councilman Eric Crafton with $5,420; and Joelton businessman Ken Jakes with $6,592.
Outside the crowded field of at-large contenders, a few district races are generating major campaign dollars, including the much-discussed District 24 race between Councilman Jason Holleman and attorney Sarah Lodge Tally, supported by Dean and several of his most prominent backers. Collectively, the two have raised more than $125,000 over the course of the election season.
Between July 1 and July 25, Tally raised $16,685 additional funds and spent $37,064, which included two separate mail-pieces featuring Dean and former Gov. Phil Bredesen. Tally has $9,213 on hand.
Holleman raised $8,460 this month, but spent far less than Tally, only spending $13,716 this period. The Sylvan Park-area councilman still has a hefty $39,779 on hand.
In politically active, Hillsboro-Belmont-area District 18, the money game is also fierce. David Glasgow has $22,826 on hand after raising $20,980 for the period. He spent $6,539.
His opponent, Burkley Allen, has $10,896 on hand after raising $8,329 for the period. Allen spent $20,423 during the period, including a $5,162 TV-commercial buy. Television commercials are typically unheard of in district races.