At least two municipal campaigns have found fundraising success early on in the 2017 election season. According to campaign finance forms, re-election campaigns for Mayor Sandy Stimpson and District 5 Councilman Joel Daves have amassed war chests for next year’s election, although neither has an official opponent yet. Stimpson had raised more than $449,000 through November.
“I’m honored to receive the financial support of so many who believe in the work we are doing and the progress we are making for the citizens of Mobile,” Stimpson said in the statement last week. “When you see nearly $450,000 come through the door in just three months of fundraising, it’s humbling and encouraging.”
Stimpson’s disclosures for September, October and November include a number of individual donors who chipped in $1,000 to $10,000. The largest individual contributions came from Alicia Stimpson at $10,000, John Crawford Hope III at $5,000, George R. Montgomery at $5,000, Richard Murray III at $5,000, E.M. McGowin Jr. at $5,000, L. Duncan Greenwood at $5,000, Farra M. Alford at $5,000 and Donald F. Williams at $4,500.
A number of businesses and political action committees have also contributed to Stimpson’s re-election effort. The largest donations from businesses include: Multifamily Management at $10,000, Rapid Deployment at $5,000, Rogers & Willard at $5,000, Briskman & Binion at $5,000, Fallback Fund at $5,000, Gulf Coast Truck & Equipment Co. at $3,000 and the law firm of Adams & Reese at $2,000.
Adams & Reese was one of several firms to which the city gave work over the last two years. The firm billed the city for the second-largest amount in that timeframe, according to records provided by city legal staff. As previously reported by Lagniappe, Adams & Reese charged the city $458,948 in 2015 and $384,401 in 2016. The only firm to collect more money from the city was Burr & Forman, which employs city attorney Ricardo Woods.
PACs contributing the most money to the Stimpson campaign so far include: South Alabamians for Good Government at $100,000, Mobile Auto-PAC at $10,000, Alabama Realtors PAC at $10,000, Good PAC at $5,000, Alabama Builders PAC at $5,000 and the Alabama Power Co. Employees State PAC at $2,500.
Stimpson has spent a total of $65,071, according to the the reports. No other candidate has officially announced his or her intention to run for mayor in 2017. Former Mayor Sam Jones said months ago he was considering a run, but has not yet made an official announcement or filed campaign paperwork.
So far, only reports for Stimpson and Daves have been filed. Only candidates who are officially considered candidates are required by law to file the forms through the probate court’s office. To be considered a candidate, a person must either file qualifying paperwork with the local election official — in this case City Clerk Lisa Lambert — or raise or spend more than $1,000.
While Stimpson began the year with a modest $43.26 balance, Daves, who is running for a second term as the District 5 representative, began with $39,245, according to his August 2016 filing. Through November, Daves’ balance sits at $74,610. He has spent a total of $9,754.
No candidate has officially challenged Daves either, but he’s preparing for a campaign nonetheless.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” Daves said. “It’s best to be prepared.”
Daves said he believes the city has made “remarkable progress” in the four years since the current council took office. For instance, he said, the city’s financial condition “completely turned around.”
He also mentioned the council’s laser focus on capital infrastructure projects at a time when the city was “at an important juncture in its history.”
“You can’t do anything if the city’s finances are in disorder,” Daves said. “You can’t do anything if your city is broken.”
Most of Daves’ contributions came from small, individual donations of less than $5,000, according to his September, October and November filings. He did receive one $3,809 donation from the Alabama Realtors PAC.
Councilors Fred Richardson, Levon Manzie, John Williams, Bess Rich, C.J. Small and Gina Gregory each said they planned to run for re-election in districts 1, 2, 4 and 7, respectively. Each said they hadn’t yet reached the threshold required to report. Annual reports from each are due in January.
Robert Martin has announced he’ll challenge Williams in District 4. No other candidate has officially announced.