Primary Campaign Finance Reports Are In

Travis Crayton's picture

The first quarter finance reports for the May primary election are in at the Board of Elections, and there are quite a few interesting things to take note of in these finance reports.

Here's the breakdown by each office:

Orange County Register of Deeds

CandidateNumber of Donors*Largest Donation Amount Raised Cash on Hand
Deborah Brooks39$700.00$3,060.00$636.74
Mark Chilton13$4,000.00 $5,215.00$706.41
Sara Stephens 15 $2,611.49 $5,072.10$2,264.74

* Because the names of donors contributing $50 or less are not required to be disclosed, it is possible that some donors are double-counted in this number.

In what is most certainly one of the most interesting races of the cycle, it's perhaps not surprising that the finance reports for this year's Register of Deeds race have several interesting things to take note of.

You might notice that incumbent Deborah Brooks has the most individual donors at 39, but the least amount of money raised out of the three candidates. The reason for this is actually quite simple: Mark Chilton's mother contributed a whopping $4,000 to his campaign, constituting 77% of his total amount raised while Sara Stephens managed to get all of her (many, many) yard signs donated to her campaign -- a $2,264.74 value she did not pay.

If you take out these two donations, Deborah Brooks actually outraised her opponents. Chilton raised only $1,215 in non-mom money while Stephens raised only $2,460.61 if you discount her donated yard signs.

There are also some other interesting numbers in Chilton's finance report. He reports purchasing a cell phone and paying for a cell phone plan with his donations, something that is unusual for a local race, especially for Register of Deeds. Another unusual number in his report is the $1,900 he has paid his campaign treasurer so far. As a former campaign treasurer myself, I can assure you it's very rare for treasurers to be paid any money at all, let alone nearly $2,000 for filing two finance reports.

 

Orange County Sheriff

 CandidateNumber of Donors* Largest Donation Amount Raised Cash on Hand 
Charles Blackwood 67$3,000.00$22,255.00$11,845.92
Andy Cagle 10$500.00$4,270.00$671.90
David Caldwell9$300.00$3,522.79$472.81
Larry Faucette 73$200.00$3,535.00$1,368.05
Buddy Parker 14$1,358.00$2,071.00$0.00
Keith Webster 14$1,500.00 $4,700.96$1,764.09

* Because the names of donors contributing $50 or less are not required to be disclosed, it is possible that some donors are double-counted in this number.

The undeniable story of the Sheriff race is that Charles Blackwood has outraised every other candidate by leaps and bounds. And not only that, but with such a sizable sum of cash left on hand, I can't help but wonder if he has not already planned for a July runoff and is ready to spend after the primary is over.

There's also a weird number in Blackwood's finance report that you also don't see often in local races. Cumulatively, he has spent $532.18 on fuel for his car during the campaign out of campaign funds.

And Blackwood isn't the only candidate with some unusual expenses. David Caldwell reports making transfers to NC Rep. Larry Hall (D-Durham) and NC Sen. Valerie Foushee (D-Orange). Given how competitive the Sheriff's race is, and how much more money Blackwood has raised than any other candidate, these transfers are quite baffling.

It's also worth noting here that both Andy Cagle and Keith Webster are their own largest donors. If you discount their personal contributions, Cagle's second-largest donation is $200.00 while Webster's is $1,000.00.

 

Orange County Board of Commissioners - At Large

 CandidateNumber of Donors*Largest Donation Amount Raised Cash on Hand 
Bonnie Hauser 64$2,000.00 $11,764.12$2,044.44
Barry Jacobs 89 $500.00$7,345.00$4,559.43

* Because the names of donors contributing $50 or less are not required to be disclosed, it is possible that some donors are double-counted in this number.

Things get a little less interesting outside of the Register of Deeds and Sheriff races. In the contest for the at-large seat on the Board of County Commissioners, challenger Bonnie Hauser has outraised incumbent Barry Jacobs by $4.419.44. One tidbit: Jacobs reported no donations from anyone outside of North Carolina (excluding aggregate contributions where names and addresses are not required to be disclosed) while Hauser raised $1,370.00 from 12 out-of-state donors.

 

Orange County Board of Commissioners - District 2

 CandidateNumber of Donors* Largest DonationAmount Raised  Cash on Hand
Mark Marcoplos 23$250.00$2,525.00$448.61
Earl McKee 66$1,000.00$7,324.86$5,540.98

* Because the names of donors contributing $50 or less are not required to be disclosed, it is possible that some donors are double-counted in this number.

In the District 2 race, incumbent Earl McKee outraised challenger Mark Marcoplos by $4,799.86. Other than that fact, these reports seemed pretty standard in their reporting and expenditures.

 

The Data 

If you want all of the data, you can access it on the Orange County Board of Elections website, or you can view the information in our spreadsheet below.

Please note that all numbers reported in this post are based on the amounts raised and reported for the first quarter report only. Any money raised and reported prior to this report is not included in the calculations.

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Total votes: 4

7 Comments

James Barrett's picture

Treasurer

Either we need to keep a lid on letting treasurers know they can get paid, or I need to do the training myself and be available to any local campaign for $1900!Thanks for making all this data available in consolidated format.  I wish more campaigns went above what NC requires for disclosure and just published a Google doc with their details themselves.  It is easy way for treasurer to track and be transparent at same time.  

ldhintz's picture

Thanks and addresses

On the spread sheet Brenda Stevens is listed as Durham. Isn't she on
the Orange County School Board? Are there parts of Durham in Orange
County like parts of Chapel Hill are in Durham County? Note that for the
Chapel Hill town races you had to report detailed info for amounts over
$30.Loren

Travis Crayton's picture

Addresses

Addresses don't necessarily correspond with municipalities, so, yes, there are Orange County residents with Durham addresses, just as there are Chatham County addresses with Chapel Hill addresses. Or just as there are folks with Chapel Hill addresses who are actually Carrboro residents.

Ed Harrison's picture

Yes, "post office" addresses

There is no dependable relationship between mailng address and the municipality or county where you live. I've served over 12 years on the CH Council with a Durham mailing address over which my neighbors and I have no control, since our mailing address was set by where the Independent Postal Service Nation decided to park each zip code's mail trucks in the late 1970s. The routes set then mean that the area covered by Chapel Hill mailing address is at least 6-7 times the size of Chapel Hill, and takes in hundreds of homes (or future homes) in Chatham, Durham and possibly part of Alamance County. The population of homes in the City of Durham with CH mailing address may well be larger than the population of Hillsborough, and for four years (1997-2001) including the mayor of Durham. Ed Harrison

Mark Chilton's picture

clarification

The money paid to Lila is for her work as Campaign Manager.  Treasurer is one of many roles she plays.  We purchased a pay-as-you-go cell phone for Lila to use during this campaign. I hired a local organizer who was in need of a job and I believe in paying a living wage.  Lila's not a wealthy person who can simply use her own cell phone for my campaign.Here's Lila's story, told to Story of America in 2013: http://www.storyofamerica.org/lila_little