Reichert, Paris had expensive winning campaigns

mstucka@macon.comAugust 26, 2011 

Macon Mayor Robert Reichert and state Sen. Miriam Paris, D-Macon, won last week’s runoff elections, but they were costly fights.

Reichert and Paris each raised several times as much money as their opponents did, according to campaign finance reports filed this month. The reports were supposed to show finances six days before the election and could be filed Aug. 12, four days before the runoff, without penalty.

Reichert filed on the day of the election, which would draw a $125 fine, according to the state’s ethics agency. Other candidates filed on time.

Reichert raised about $63,300 in cash since July 1, according to his campaign contribution disclosure report. In the same time period, he spent about $85,400. Reichert had also loaned his campaign $10,000. Reichert’s campaign expenditures totaled about $175,000.

On the other hand, his opponent, former Mayor C. Jack Ellis, raised about $19,500 since July 1, and he spent about $31,200 in the same time period. During the whole campaign, Ellis spent about $73,600, or about two-fifths of the amount Reichert spent.

But because they received nearly the same amount of votes in the runoff election, Reichert spent more than twice as much to get each vote as Ellis did.

Somewhat similar ratios were seen in the runoff election for state Senate District 26, where Paris defeated David Lucas in the runoff election.

Since July 1, Paris had reported raising about $29,000 in cash. In the same time period, Lucas reported raising $8,900, or about a third as much as Paris. Total amounts raised for the campaigns were reported as $8,900 for Lucas and about $58,500 for Paris. Paris reported spending about $50,000 on the campaign, while Lucas reported no spending in the latest report.

Reichert’s support included people from the real estate industry, the restaurant business and Mercer University, including developer Frank C. Amerson Jr., real estate leader Roy Fickling, former Mercer University President Kirby Godsey, and the law firm of former Gov. Roy Barnes.

Ellis drew mostly smaller amounts, including many from Atlanta. Notable contributors included former Mayor Lee Robinson; pastors Timothy Price, Curtis Raines, Ike Mack and Benjamin Ridley; and the campaign of Macon City Councilman Henry Ficklin.

Lucas’ contributors included Godsey, state political figures and the I.B.E.W. union. Paris received donations from Amerson and Fickling, as well as City Council members Larry Schlesinger and Lauren Benedict. She also received donations from community notables Calder Pinkston, Amy Morton and Beverly Blake.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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