Hailing from the smaller towns of the 16th District has not dampened the fundraising of Democratic State Senate hopefuls Jim Lewis and Justin Walling as they lead the field in raking in cash for their campaigns.
Meanwhile, expenditures revealed by the recent candidate financial declarations covering March through July show substantial dollars have been spent outside the district by candidates who have spent thousands buying campaign material from out-of-state companies.
In the area of fundraising, Jim Lewis of Kimball leads all nine candidates. Lewis reported raising $18,945 since March and spending $15,152. His main spending stayed in the district with promotional services from a firm from South Pittsburgh where he spent $7,000. His highest person on payroll was Deborah Cleek from Monteagle who received about $1,600 for campaign work.
Accounting for the lion’s share of Lewis’ contributors were unions and committees. The Plumbers and Pipefitters Education Committee of Nashville, and Iron Workers Union Local 704 both gave the Lewis campaign $5,000. The Heat and Frost Regulators political action committee of Maryland also gave Lewis $1,000, as did Emily Layne, a pharmacist from South Pittsburgh.
His closest rival in fundraising is Justin Walling of Spencer, who took in $15,545 while spending $11,297. The major part of his spending, around $5,000, was spent covering expenses for fundraisers, one at Fall Creek Falls in his home county. He spent just over $1,000 on signs.
Among Walling’s big contributors was his old boss, former Congressman Lincoln Davis, who gave him $1,000 from his political war chest. Farmer Morgan LLC also gave him two contributions of $1,000, while the Tennessee Education Association came across with a $1,000 donation.
Taking third in fundraising was Warren County’s own Steve Roller, who served a short stint as state senator after being appointed by the Warren County Commission upon the retirement of state Sen. Jerry Cooper.
Roller reported taking in $11,895 and spending $9,322. His single biggest business expenditure was $1,900 to Expressive Imprints in Franklin. He also listed significant payments for campaign workers, his biggest payroll of $1,950 going to Mike Vinson and $1,500 to Billy Holland, both local residents.
As for the money which helped pay the bills, Roller had seven members of the $1,000 club. His gold club members include Gary Adcock, Woody Davenport, Todd Herzog, Danny Roller, Helen Roller, Charlie Sunderland and W.H. Roller.
Republican Janice Bowling of Tullahoma was fourth in fundraising, taking in $8,505 and spending $10,906. She also carried over $28,324 from earlier this year. Bowling’s biggest expenditure was around $5,000 for signs purchased from a company out of Detroit, Mich.
As for contributors, she received $1,000 from Jesse Rogers of University Technologies and $1,000 from Janie McAfee of Shady Grove. She also received a $1,400 in-kind contribution from Floyd Davis of Estill Springs.
Local Republican Rod McClellan was next in fundraising with $6,689. However, in his case, all funds into his campaign are his own. His biggest expenditure was about $1,200, all spent at a McMinnville company for signs.
Ron Stolzfus of Winchester was next as the Republican took in $4,200 and spent $3,145. His biggest expenditure was $1,240 for signs from a business out of Illinois. He had no $1,000 contributors.
Viola Mayor and former McMinnville Fire Chief Kevin Lawrence took in $2,531 and spent $1,732. His largest expenditure was $1,541 for signs from a company in McMinnville. His single $1,000 contributor was Buck Blanton Livestock.
Eric Chance of Coffee County took in $2,275 and spent $5,977. His biggest expenditure was $2,269 from a sign company from Tyler, Texas. He had one $1,000 contributor, Dr. Larry Bates from Middleton. He also had an in-kind donation from the T-shirt Shop in the amount of $1,350 from within the district in Tullahoma.
Last in fundraising was local resident Jeff Bottoms who took in $675 with all but $25 being his own money. He spent $1,154, more than half of which was for signs from a McMinnville company.
Clarification: In the Wednesday edition, judicial candidate Jean Brock was referenced as having $17,000 in loans. The loans were her own money loaned to her campaign treasury.