July 14--Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell demonstrated his sizable fundraising advantage over challenger Deidre Malone in the second quarter, spending $290,111 in support of his bid for re-election.
More than two-thirds of that went to local television advertising. Combined spending with the four local network broadcast affiliates totaled $202,155 -- with $88,400 spent at WMC-TV and $79,830 spent at WREG-TV.
That's according to a copy of Luttrell's second quarter financial disclosure provided by the campaign. The disclosure covered the period between April 27, the day after the final pre-primary disclosure period, and June 30 -- a key stretch for campaigns in advance of the Aug. 7 general election. (Early voting begins Friday.)
Luttrell began the period with $338,199 available to spend and added $84,329 in donations during the quarter. Subtract his expenses, and that left Luttrell with $132,417 available to spend as of July 1.
Democratic nominee Deidre Malone reported $38,915 as of the same day, according to her filing. She started the period with $10,753, raised $53,334between April 27 and June 30, and spent $25,173 in the same time frame.
Malone loaned her campaign $10,000 on June 30. She also reported a $7,500 contribution from her own company, the Carter Malone Group, an advertising, marketing and public relations limited liability corporation. But Drew Rawlins, executive director of the state Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, said LLCs are treated as individuals in terms of donation limits, and the limit for individuals is $1,500 per election.
Asked by The Commercial Appeal to explain the $7,500 donation in light of that, a campaign spokesperson said Friday afternoon the donation was actually a $1,500 cash contribution and a $6,000 in-kind contribution, and that the campaign was in the process of amending its disclosure to reflect that.
In another race: Big money poured in during the second quarter in support of Memphis City Council member Lee Harris' Democratic primary bid to unseat state Sen. Ophelia Ford in District 29.
Harris reported $37,452 in donations during the quarter. Counting his beginning balance and subtracting his second quarter expenses, that left him with $28,646 to spend on the race as of July 1. Among the parade of donors to his campaign: U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, First Tennessee Bank CEO Bryan Jordan, Downtown Memphis Commission President Paul Morris, Tower Ventures President and Shelby County Schools board member Billy Orgel, developer Henry Turley and the Tennessee Bankers Association's political action committee.
Ford reported $2,500 in donations during the same period, though she started with a more sizable amount in the bank. Ford reported having $11,550 to spend on the race as of July 1.
Ricky Dixon reported $2,360 in donations and a balance of $4,727. Herman Sawyer reported a $158 balance.
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