It’s about the money for local candidates

In southeastern Chesterfield, the campaigns for supervisor and School Board are beginning to take shape, especially when it comes to contributions. Candidates were required to make their financial reports for the second-quarter by July 15.

Out of the three magisterial districts  that this newspaper covers, Matoaca District incumbent Marleen Durfee has not only out-raised her opponent, Steve Elswick, but the five other candidates running in Matoaca, Bermuda and Dale districts combined. During this election cycle, Durfee has raised $29,107. Elswick, who won the Republican canvass on July 16, has raised $7,854, but spent over $5,000 on his campaign before the canvas. Elswick’s opponent in the canvas, Kevin Bakeer Al-Mateen, raised almost $9,000 for his unsuccessful bid, garnering less than 7 percent of the vote.

In the Dale Magisterial District, campaign fundraising pales in comparison to Matoaca. Incumbent Jim Holland has raised $5,227 during this election cycle according to the Virginia State Board of Elections. As of the June 30 cutoff, Cliff Bickford, who is hoping to unseat Holland in the Dale District, has raised $3,900 with over half ($2,500) coming from former Dale District planning commissioner Sherman Litton.

Dorothy Jaeckle could walk away with the Bermuda District Supervisor’s seat if she wins in the Bermuda Republican primary scheduled for August 23. Jaeckle, who is the incumbent, has raised $2,483 during this election cycle. Her opponent has brought in just $875. But there is a potential Independent candidate in Bermuda who has yet to announce whether or not he will oppose Jaeckle.

In the other districts in the county, the coffers are brimming for Midlothian incumbent candidate for Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors Dan Gecker, who not yet has an opponent, may not have a campaign to spend it on. Currently, Gecker has $43,650 in his war chest, most of which is the money he lent to his own campaign four years ago.

Current Board Chairman and Clover Hill District Supervisor Art Warren has $41,578 to spend on his campaign. His opponent Roy Wallace, who was the third candidate in the Bermuda District four years ago, has a smaller amount to work with, weighing in at $1,900.

While the election for school board in Bermuda District is just beginning to take shape as Stella Edwards announces her candidacy, Ms. Edwards submitted paperwork to run after the second-quarter filing date. Carrie Coyner has been making the rounds, speaking to a number of groups about running for School Board, but has yet to officially file with the registrar. Marshall Trammell, who currently holds the seat, is retiring after this term.

Omarh Rajah has been holding a seat on Chesterfield County Public Schools board for the last four years after winning in 2007 against the seated Tom Doland by just 443 votes. Doland is back this year though he has reported only $240 raised during this election cycle. Rajah has raised $9,961.


Campaign Finance Reform

Not only does the amount of money in each candidate's treasure chest matter, but sometimes the source is even more illuminating. You rightly pointed out the source of Dan Gecker's money (his own). However, it still galls me that according to the VPAP web site as of 30 June, F. Wayne Bass remains the third largest contributor to Marleen Durfee. Rightly or wrongly, that conveys the distasteful impression that the contribution is payback to the person who appointed him as planning commissioner. Shenanigans like that should be strictly prohibited in order to avoid even the appearance of bribery, corruption, or other wrongdoing.

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