Jackson mayoral candidates bring in big bucks
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JACKSON, Tenn. — Hundreds of donors shell out thousands of dollars in the race for mayor of Jackson. The election is still three months away, but two of the five candidates already have raised more than $100,000. Election officials said that is unusually high figures at this point in a mayoral election. Incumbent Jerry Gist reported having more than $106,000 on hand from fundraising through Jan. 15. “Because of the cost of advertising, it’s not cheap,” Gist said. “If you want to get your message out, it’s the only way you can do it.” Contender Lowe Finney reports having more than $166,000 on hand, which includes $58,000 from his senate campaign fund. “Fundraising, while it’s something you have to do, it’s also a good way for so many of these folks to get involved,” Finney said. Disclosure statements show Finney had almost twice the number of contributions as Gist, ranging from $1 to $2,000. “I think what it shows is that people all across the city are interested in our campaign,” Finney said. “They’re coming on board.” Gist reports receiving multiple $3,000 contributions. Finney reported none. “Most of our money has been local money,” Gist said. “It’s just through relationships and good friends over the years. They’ve been very, very generous.” Dr. James Baxter reported a fund balance of zero. Tim York reported having about $400 on hand. The fifth candidate, Charlie Motton, has not turned in his figures yet because the Madison County Election Commission said he does not have to until April. The election commission said candidates can receive donations of less than $100 but do not have to list who they came from. The election commission said mayoral candidates must turn in their first-quarter fundraising figures April 10. Election Day is May 5. Baxter called his campaign a grassroots campaign. He said he plans to do some fundraising along the way but said they do not have major corporate donors. Baxter said money does not vote, but people vote. York said he does not expect a lot of big-money donors. He said he would love to have a thousand $10 or $20 donors. York said he is not going to spend much money. Motton said he does not plan on fundraising and will personally finance his campaign.