Candidates release campaign finance reports; Where is the money going?

Published 8:35 am Thursday, April 27, 2017

Candidates vying for public office in Brookhaven are just days away from the May 2 primaries, which will possibly decide the outcome in at least three wards.

Ward 1 brings two Democratic candidates, while Ward 4 is a race between two Republicans.

Ward 2 could possibly also be decided during the primary, but with three Democratic candidates fighting for votes, it is likely a run-off will be necessary. If that happens, those who voted Democrat May 2 will be able to vote in the run-off May 16.

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Most of the 24 candidates hit one of their final hurdles Tuesday — turning in their campaign finance reports to the Brookhaven City Clerk’s office.

Three candidates missed the 5 p.m. deadline: David D. Smith, who is running for mayor as a Democrat; Dorsey Cameron, who is running for Ward 1 alderman as a Democrat, and Gene Buckles, who is running for Ward 6 as the lone Republican candidate.

Smith, Cameron and Buckles each turned in their reports Wednesday.

Candidates are not penalized for filing late, Deputy City Clerk Samantha Melancon said.

Finance reports focus on the dates between Jan. 1 and April 25. Candidates are required to report contributions of $200 or more — listed as “itemized,” with contributions not reaching the threshold for reporting listed as “non-itemized.”

The four men in the race for police chief — Democrats Randy Belcher, incumbent Bobby Bell and Kenneth Collins along with Republican Jason Gaskin — collected a total of $11,527. That’s still less than what the Republican mayoral candidate John Roberts Jr. reported in campaign contributions — $12,055.

The four police chief candidates’ expenses amount to $9,918.

Robert’s competition in the mayoral primary is Joe Cox, the incumbent and a Republican. Cox reported that he’d collected $3,950 in contributions and spent $3,733.

The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat David D. Smith at the general election.

Smith reported that he has spent $1,476 on signs, although he lists his contributions as $0.

The yearly salary for police chief in Brookhaven is $67,000, while the mayor earns slightly more at $71,700. Aldermen earn $18,400 annually.

The bulk of the collecting and the spending from police chief candidates came from Collins, a lieutenant at the Brookhaven Police Department, who racked up $6,381 in contributions and $6,426 in spending. Most of that was spent on advertising and signs, though he did list $350 for a “bouncy house” at a political fundraiser.

One of Collins’ contributors was his wife, Rhonda, who gave him $1,070.

Bell, Collins’ boss and Brookhaven Police chief, raised $700 and spent $1,822. The incumbent spent most of his money on advertising, with just a small portion — $243 — set aside for a billboard sign.

Belcher, who is currently the Ward 1 alderman, spent $325 on advertising but listed no contributions on his finance report.

Gaskin, the lone Republican, will sail through the primary and face the winner of the Democrat ticket at the general election June 6. Gaskin raised $4,446 and spent $4,783. Most of his spending went to yard signs for $2,100, T-shirts for $640 and commercials for $750.

Gaskin’s wife, Shanteau, contributed $140 to his campaign.

In the mayoral race, Cox spent $591 for printing, nearly $2,500 for radio and print advertising and $668 on yard signs.

Roberts, on the other hand, spent $4,368 for yard signs and another $4,179 for advertising.

The large portion of Roberts’ contributions — $7,000 in itemized and $5,055 in non-itemized — came from the candidate’s own wallet. He contributed $5,000 to himself.

Other contributors in the municipal campaigns include Ward 6 Alderman David Phillips, who is not seeking re-election, and Mike McKenzie, of Madison, who is owner of WGK Engineering. The company has contracted with the city on several large construction projects.

Phillips made $500 contributions to Cox as well as Shelley Harrigill and Karen Sullivan. Harrigill, an attorney, is running as an independent to fill Phillips’ Ward 6 alderman seat. Sullivan, a Republican, is the incumbent hoping to remain alderwoman-at-large for another four-year term.

McKenzie contributed $250 to Sullivan’s campaign and $300 to Cox’s.

Candidates’ campaign finance reports include the following information for contributions and disbursements from Jan. 1-April 22:


Joe Cox (INC) – Republican

• Contributions: $3,950 itemized

• Disbursements: $3,733.08 itemized, $25 non-itemized

John Roberts Jr. – Republican

• Contributions: $7,000 itemized, $5,055 non-itemized

• Disbursements: $9,334.51 itemized, $584.31 non-itemized

David D. “SWAC” Smith – Democrat

• Contributions: $0

• Disbursements: $1,476.97 itemized

Police Chief

Randy Belcher – Democrat

• Contributions: $0

• Disbursements: $325.17

Bobby Bell (INC) – Democrat

• Contributions: $700 itemized

• Disbursements: $1,822.50

Kenneth Collins – Democrat

• Contributions: $1,270 itemized, $5,110.87 non-itemized

• Disbursements: $5,764.03 itemized, $662 non-itemized

Jason Gaskin – Republican

• Contributions: $1,690 itemized, $2,756 non-itemized

• Disbursements: $4,212.22 itemized, $571.37 non-itemized

Ward 1

Dorsey Cameron – Democrat

• Contributions: $0

• Disbursements: $0

Elisa Corley Jr. – Democrat

• Contributions: $0

• Disbursements: $443.32 itemized

Ward 2

Vernastine Byrd – Democrat

• Contributions: $0 itemized, $50 non-itemized

• Disbursements: $0 itemized, $64.20 non-itemized

Danny “Blackfoot” Chatman – Democrat

• Contributions: $0

• Disbursements: $911.60 itemized

Shannon Moore – Democrat

• Contributions: $0

• Disbursements: $701.81 itemized

Ward 3

David Holloway – Democrat

• Contributions: $0

• Disbursements: $195 itemized

Mary H. Wilson (INC) – Democrat

• Contributions: $0

• Disbursements: $0

LaMareo “Big Moe” Brown – independent

• Contributions: $0

• Disbursements:  $185 non-itemized

Ward 4

Jason Snider – Republican

• Contributions: $2,875 itemized, $1,274.99 non-itemized

• Disbursements: $4,275.12 itemized, $513.10 non-itemized

Rusty Yates – Republican

• Contributions: $1,150 itemized, $3,335 non-itemized

• Disbursements: $3,334.96 itemized, $140.21 non-itemized

Ward 5

Fletcher Grice (INC)

• Contributions: $0

• Disbursements: $599 itemized

Ward 6

Gene Buckles – Republican

• Contributions: $0

• Disbursements: $0

Andre’ D. Spiller – Democrat

• Contributions: $0

• Disbursements: $0

David McCoy – Democrat

• Contributions: $25 itemized

• Disbursements: $865.28 itemized

Shelley M. Harrigill – independent

• Contributions: $1,035 itemized

• Disbursements: $850.05 itemized, $400.22 non-itemized

Harold Rowe – independent

• Contributions: $0

• Disbursements: $379.80 itemized


Troy Douglas – Republican

• Contributions: $0

• Disbursements: $0

Karen Sullivan (INC) – Republican

• Contributions: $950 itemized, $100 non-itemized

• Disbursements: $1,029 disbursements

Marilyn Dow-Harris – Democrat

• Contributions: $370 itemized

• Disbursements: $669