While much of the focus on the mid-year state campaign finance disclosure reports go to state legislators and others higher up on the ballot, two elected officials in Glynn County may prove that what’s most notable is further down-ballot.
Following a pattern from previous elections, District Attorney Jackie Johnson took out a new $125,000 loan Jan. 31, which — outside of congressional or statewide contests — is a staggering amount of money. According to the January 2019 report, she paid $98,984.12 off a previous loan, and per the June 2019 report, earned $127.96 in interest on her campaign account to end the cycle with $125,127.95 on hand.
On the face of it, the loan does two clear things, in that it eliminates the need to do fundraising — a practice frequently groused about by elected officials — and it can be fairly intimidating to anyone looking to mount a challenge.
Glynn County’s superior court judges Robert Guy, Anthony Harrison, Stephen Kelly and Stephen Scarlett are up for re-election next year. Harrison, Kelley and Scarlett all have similar financial activity over the last six months, which is to say barely any. Harrison has more than $7,000 on hand, while Kelley has more than $1,100 and Scarlett has close to $2,900.
That brings us to Guy, who went fundraising at the end of last year and brought in the incredible haul of $82,004. Guy raised more money than any other Glynn County elected official — including state legislators — and has by far has the most on hand, excluding the DA.
At least $125 of that will be going to the state, though, as Guy is late in filing his June 2019 report. The last day to file without a penalty was Monday.
Most of Guy’s contributions outside the legal arena appear to come from people and businesses in gaming and hotels. Notable legal community contributions include those from Gilbert Harrell Sumerford & Martin ($500), Hall Booth Smith ($2,600), HunterMaclean ($1,000), Lewis & Raulerson ($1,500), the Ligon Firm ($300) and attorney Kevin Gough ($250).
State House District 179
Early on, it appears a rematch is in the works in District 179, with 2018 Democratic nominee Julie Jordan mounting a second attempt at unseating state Rep. Don Hogan, R-St. Simons Island. Jordan matched and then beat Hogan in fundraising ability, with the vast majority of those dollars coming from St. Simons Island women. She also managed to create one of the most complete campaigns by a local Democrat in decades, but it didn’t lead to the upset, as Hogan won by 15.5 percent, or 3,314 votes.
Jordan ended 2018 with $4,763.60 on hand. At the end of the race, she spent $3,752 for ads with The News, $1,135.60 for ads with iHeart Radio and $360 for ads with Golden Isles Radio. She also gave $250 to the runoff campaign of Lindy Miller, who lost in an attempt to become a state public service commissioner.
Jordan’s mid-year report showed $3,463 in contributions and a little more than that in expenditures, leaving a balance of $4,685.64 on hand.
Hogan’s disclosure reports, which The News previously reported had consistency problems, continue to show unaccounted-for money. The numbers from one report to another don’t line up.
In his 2018 year-end report, Hogan reported $2,500 in contributions, $13,844.65 in expenditures with a balance of $32,731.15. In his January 2019 report, he showed no contributions or expenditures, with cash on hand of $31,787.65. Then in the June 2019 report, there were $550 in contributions, $2,690.86 in expenditures and a balance of $27,177.41.
That means there were $943.50 gone from the account between the 2018 year-end report and January 2019 report with no explanation. Using the reported June 2019 contributions and expenditures, the new balance should be $29,646.79, but it’s reported as $27,177.41, a discrepancy of $2,469.38.
So, just for a six-month period, over three reports, there are $3,412.88 missing from Hogan’s campaign account for which the disclosure reports fail to account.
Then there’s the matter of the June 2019 report including an investment statement on his campaign checking account. It states he entered the reporting period with $32,731.19 — a few cents off from the year-end report — and ended this period with $29,318.27 in the account, which directly contradicts the $27,177.41 number reported in the same filing.
As such, Hogan’s reports at best represent a general guess at what money he has in his campaign account at the time of filing and where the money went.
Notable contributions between the three reports include two from Koch Industries for a total $2,000, $1,500 from late state Rep. John Meadows, $500 from the Georgia Association of Realtors and $300 from the Georgia Oilmen’s Association. Expenditures included $11,851 to Faulkenberry Certain for advertising, and a $250 contribution to Glynn County Sheriff Neal Jump’s campaign.
State House District 167
State Rep. Jeff Jones, R-St. Simons Island, ended 2018 with $21,748.45 in the bank, and that ebbed and flowed a little over the last six months before closing out at $18,244.39 on hand. During this period, and despite being one of the House Republican public opponents of Speaker David Ralston, state industry associations have kept up with contributions that tend to go to allied incumbents.
Notable contributors include the AT&T of Georgia ($500), Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals ($500), Georgia Association of Realtors PAC ($800), Georgia Mining Association ($200) and Georgia Oilmen’s Association ($300). State House Majority Leader Jon Burns, R-Newington, sent $1,000 from his campaign committee.
Jones sent campaign contributions to Secretary of State Brad Raffensburger ($3,900), Republican Leadership for Georgia ($300), the Georgia Republican Party ($1,000), state Rep. James Burchett ($200) and Franklin Patten ($200). Burchett and Patten, both Republicans, faced off March 12 to fill the vacancy in House District 176. Jones also gave $250 to Jump’s reelection effort.
State Senate District 3
State Sen. William Ligon, R-White Oak, closed out the first half of 2019 with $41,432.91 on hand.
Notable contributions, between the year-end, January and June reports, include those from Altria Client Services ($500), the Civil Justice PAC ($1,000), Georgia Oilmen’s Association ($250), JP Morgan Chase & Co. PAC ($500), state Sen. Greg Kirk ($150) and Troutman Sanders LLP ($750).
Expenditures of note include $6,380.40 to Faulkenberry Certain for ads, $2,000 to Gov. Brian Kemp’s campaign, $550 to the State YMCA of Georgia and $1,000 to the Jump campaign.
The Ligon campaign also provided the $300 and $200 prizes to the winner and second-place finisher of the National Day of Prayer essay contest.