Brookhaven mayoral candidates Dale Boone and John Ernst are spending campaign cash on some well-known political consultants. Thanks in part to political action committees, Ernst remains far ahead in funding, raising more than $70,500—nine times more than Boone’s total.
The final campaign finance reports prior to the Nov. 3 election, filed this week, show that Ernst has spent over $40,000 on the race and has over $30,000 on hand. Boone has raised about $7,700 and spent about $6,800, leaving him with under $1,000 in the bank.
Ernst accepted funds from trade union and real estate PACs, including one out-of-state. They include the Atlanta Realtors PAC ($1,500); the Atlanta North Georgia Building Trades Council PAC Fund ($500); and the Washington, D.C.-based International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers PAC Educational Fund ($1,500).
Other Ernst donors include the campaign committee of Democratic state Rep. Scott Holcomb, who represents part of Brookhaven, and Peter Aman of Buckhead, Atlanta’s former chief operating officer and a possible candidate in that city’s upcoming mayoral race.
While the race is nonpartisan, both candidates have hired consulting firms with well-known partisan leanings. Ernst, a Democrat, has emphasized his bipartisan backing and hired two consultants—one Democrat, one Republican. However, most of his spending went to Decatur-based Landslyde Advisors, whose clients include Democratic Congressman David Scott of southwest Atlanta. Ernst’s Republican advice came from Sand Mountain Communications, run by Todd Rehm, who also edits the GaPundit.com political news site.
Boone, who previously declined to say whether he has any political party affiliation, hired Atlanta-based Red Clay Communications, a Republican-leaning firm. According to media reports, Red Clay advised Virginia Congressman Dave Brat last year in his major upset victory over then House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
In the District 1 City Council race, challenger Eve Erdogan has out-raised incumbent Linley Jones, but Jones still has far more cash on hand due to earlier funds still in the bank. Erdogan has raised about $11,800 during the race and has about $4,000 on hand. Jones raised about $5,000 and spent about $9,600, but still has nearly $38,000 available.
Jones’s expenditures have primarily involved mailings and photos. So have Erdogan’s though her reports list several of those items as in-kind contributions from Erdogan, with the campaign then reimbursing her for some of them.
District 3 City Councilman Bates Mattison, who is running unopposed, filed a report whose numbers appear to not add up. They show total contributions of about $17,000 and total expenditures at around $24,000, but also a positive net balance of about $2,700.
Mattison had similar math issues on his previous report filed Oct. 6. “I took a look and it looks like something wasn’t carried over correctly from an earlier report,” Mattison said about that report, adding that he would figure out the problem. However, he said on Oct. 22 that he had not had time to review the documents and has not yet provided an explanation. Mattison could not be reached for comment about his latest campaign finance filing.
Mattison had another campaign finance filing issue earlier this month. He apologized for racking up $1,375 in fees and fines for failure to file various disclosures in 2011 through 2013. Mattison said he filed hard-copy versions of the form on time, but failed to file electronically as well under a state system that “has since been scrapped due to problems with campaign filings from across the state.”