A look at the campaign finances for candidates in the Nov. 3 elections

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt October 27, 2015
File Photo from the May 20 primary, courtesy of Dena Mellick

File Photo from the May 20 primary, courtesy of Dena Mellick

As the Nov. 3 elections approach, candidates in local races are making their campaign disclosures, documents showing who is funding each campaign.

All of the forms for the Decatur races can be found by clicking here. In Avondale Estates, all of the candidates filed affidavits showing they would not raise enough money to have to file campaign disclosures.

Some campaign finance highlights from each race on the Decatur ballot this year …

City Commission, At Large 

John Ridley and Tony Powers are vying for the seat currently occupied by Mayor Jim Baskett, who opted not to seek another term. Unlike many other cities, Decagtur mayors are chosen by fellow-city commissioners.

Ridley said his most recent report, filed on Oct. 7, 2015, contains an error. The form shows he loaned himself $200,000 to run his campaign, eschewing campaign contributions. When contacted by Decaturish, Ridley said he had loaned himself $100,000 and will correct his campaign finance filings.

“I’d never seen that form before and I found it very confusing,” Ridley said. He said his campaign returned $25,000 of the funds to him because, “I wasn’t going to use it.”

Powers’ recent report, filed Sept. 28, shows he has raised about $20,000 for his campaign. The people who have contributed the most money to his campaign are:

– William Hall, a CEO at Newfields who contributed $2,500

– Dave Jones, Powers business partner at Intown Ace Hardware, who contributed $1,000.

– Natasha Trethewey, an Emory professor who contributed $1,000.

City Commission, District 2, Post B

Brian Smith has raised $12,400 for his campaign.

His biggest contributors are:

– Moosajee Hussain, a city of Atlanta resident, who gave $1,500. No occupation is listed on the form.

– Weslee Knapp, who works in real estate. Knapp contributed $1,000.

– Linda Lubin, from Miami, Fla., who contributed $1,000. Lubin is retired, according to the form.

His opponent, James Johnson, has raised $100, which he loaned to himself.

City Commission, District 1, Post B

While this race involves an incumbent City Commissioner, candidates aren’t raising or spending much money.

Valencia Monique Breedlove has raised $625. She has filed an affidavit stating she is exempt from some filing requirements because has raised less than $2,500.

Incumbent Commissioner Scott Drake has raised $850.

His biggest contributor is James Topple, who gave him $500. His occupation is listed as “retired.”

Eric Tumperi has raised $1,045. Most of his contributions were $100 or less. One contributor, DeKalb County teacher Holly Lanford, gave $200.

School Board, District 2, Post B 

Tasha White has raised $6,360. Her biggest contributors include:

– Nickolas Downey, CEO of Nead Werx Inc., who contributed $2,500

– Erika Young Wells, a self-employed consultant, who contributed $500

Thomas DeSimone has raised $2,225.

His biggest contributors:

– Richard DeSimone, who contributed $1,000

– Minerva for City Council,  based in New York. That organization contributed $750

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • Alvin McNeely

    Local government affects everyone’s lives in consequential ways every day. These financial disclosure forms offer a window into the way these candidates will actually do official tasks if elected. Many times commenters on these matters mention financial and social connections candidates bring with them as perjoratives. That misses the important point that these offices belong to everyone since everyone has a stake in what the people elected to serve actually do in any official capacity. These disclosures offer a peak at how people work, how they fit into these community jobs, and what to expect if they are elected.

    Keep in mind that no one has to run for these positions. The jobs are tedious, time consuming duration events. Therefore it is important to have the people who know you to support you. If you win the election then you have four years of long, leg-numbing time to get more than you fair share of everyone else’s opinion; you should at least start the program bearing the good will and opinion of your community.

    When you get no contributions from the community to report but spend $50,000.00 for a chance to govern other people and tell them what to do then you can expect people to cock their heads and audibly mutter, “huh?” And when the paperwork – the standard sort of stuff EVERYONE has to file to run for office, the stuff many claim to want to increase in an effort at “ethics reform” – well, you just mangle it, then you should expect that maybe people will think claims of your competence and you calls for a wholesale reworking of the form of the institute you want to lead are just a tad much for them to believe.

    Two candidates are self-financing, which some people might consider a virtuous thing. I don’t. You can’t or choose not to have an awkward conversation to ask anyone (and there are damned near 20,000 people in Decatur) to slide you a twenty-dollar bill just to defray the costs of filing your official candidacy. Yet, you can and choose to tell everyone in your jurisdiction a host of things ranging from how fast they can drive to how much of their household income will go to finance their city. That’s rich.

    Remember that early voting is happening this week and Election Day is six days away. Take the poll workers some Revolution doughnuts to fill their bellies and give them something to gnaw on between voters.

  • Steve Vogel

    It looks like Mr Ridley is one of only two candidates who has not filed his report due 10/31/15.

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