Democrat Sam Jones has opened up a significant fundraising lead over his Republican opponent, Charles Talbert, in the House District 99 race with less than a week to go before the general election.

The former Mobile mayor (picture above, left) had a bit of a head start, as he defeated a crowded field of Democrats, including local attorney Greg Harris and former Circuit Court judge Herman Thomas, in June to represent the party for the seat held by outgoing Democrat James Buskey. Talbert, on the other hand, had no competition in the GOP primary.

Jones started August with a balance of $4,699 and added from there. In that month he raised $3,400 and spent $2,454. In September he raised $10,750 and spent $2,436, according to information from Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill’s website.

From Oct. 1 to Oct. 12, Jones raised $6,350 and spent $1,122. From Oct. 13 to Oct. 19, he raised $6,050 and spent $1,110. From Oct. 20 to Oct. 26, he raised $3,750 and spent $5,102.

Jones has $21,881 in cash on hand, which he said he expects to spend this week on media buys.

Talbert started August with a negative balance, owing $1,860. He raised no money that month, according to records, and spent $70. In September Talbert raised $810 and spent $88. From Oct. 1 to Oct. 12, he didn’t raise or spend any money. From Oct. 13 to Oct. 19, he didn’t raise any money but spent $200. From Oct. 20 to Oct. 26, Talbert didn’t raise any money but spent $47.

Talbert could not be reached for comment by deadline.

As a former mayor and Mobile County commissioner, Jones said if he is elected he would help make it easier for local municipalities to gain more autonomy, or home rule, from the state government.

The issue of fairness to cities was discussed often during the last  legislative session. Locally, it manifested itself in a variety of ways. For example, Buskey pushed through a local bill to allow restaurants to serve alcohol before noon on Sundays.

The fair disbursement of online sales tax revenue has also been a recent issue. City governments and the state have been debating the proper distribution of sales and use taxes from online retailers. A law currently on the books gives the majority of that revenue to the state and even splits the rest among cities and counties based on population.