Johnson Winning Mayoral War Chest Battle

Clarion Ledger: Johnson winning mayoral war chest battle

Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. entered 2013 with a sizable cash lead in the mayor’s race, according to campaign finance reports filed with the city clerk, but the war chests of most candidates remain a mystery.

The incumbent mayor and businessman Jonathan Lee were the only two candidates to file campaign finance reports with the city clerk in January, when reports were due for money raised and spent in 2012.

The race’s other heavy hitters, who figure to have raised sizable totals by now, did not file a report. But even if they raised money in 2012, under state law they would have to report their fundraising activities only if they spent any money.

Johnson’s campaign committee, Friends of Harvey Johnson, raised $108,969 in 2012 and spent $16,220, much of it advertising-related. His campaign ended the year with $107,442 cash on hand, some of which may have been left over from the election four years ago.

His donations came from a mix of businesses of individuals, most commonly around $500 to $1,000. The top individual donations were from Glenda Glover, former dean of Jackson State University, who gave $5,000, and Robert Agbede of Pittsburgh, president of a water engineering firm. Other donors to Johnson included former Mayor Kane Ditto, Flowood Mayor Gary Rhoads, contractors and several law and consulting firms.

Lee’s group, Friends of Jonathan Lee, raised $54,349 and spent all but $12,582 of it. Most of his campaign expenses so far were payments to Hendrix and Dometz Organizational Solutions and JW Turner Consulting LLC, who are helping run his campaign.

A separate political action committee, Jackson 20/20, also spent money on both Hendrix and Turner earlier in 2012, but Tyrone Hendrix, Lee’s spokesman, said Jackson 20/20 was not affiliated with Lee’s campaign.

Jackson 20/20, which was created to support candidates in state and local races, raised $25,925 last year.

Lee’s donations came primarily from individuals, and about half of his money raised came from small donations of less than $200. By contrast, 92 percent of Johnson’s donations were larger than $200.

William Cooley of Jackson was Lee’s top donor, giving $4,750. No other donor gave more than $1,000.

On April 30, one week before the May 7 primary, all candidates are required to file disclosures whether they have spent any money or not.

The qualifying deadline is Friday, and the mayor’s race is expected to have close to 10 entrants.

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