Candidates spend big in Congressional race
Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 23, 2016
LaGRANGE — A GOP runoff election between former West Point Mayor Drew Ferguson and state Sen. Mike Crane is just around the corner and the candidates are spending heavily to influence voters.
Federal Election Commission filings show between May 5 and July 6, Ferguson’s campaign took in $503,354.50 and spent $369,831.92.
Crane’s campaign numbers aren’t as strong, with $265,958.02 in receipts and $200,144.45 in expenses. For the reporting period ending July 5, Ferguson had $188,333.33 cash on hand, and Crane had $164,629.41.
The candidates are in a runoff to replace outgoing Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, and in Georgia’s solidly Republican 3rd Congressional District, the winner of the runoff is likely to handily beat Democrat Angela Pendley in the Nov. 8 general election.
Both Crane and Ferguson have spent big bucks on direct mail advertising, with both campaigns spending more than $100,000 each on mailers. For meeting expenses, Crane spent more than $600 at Chick-fil-A, and Ferguson spent $157.26 at Johnny’s New York Style Pizza in West Point. Ferguson’s campaign also spent a little more than $200 at a Taco Mac in Peachtree City on June 10.
Judging by their expenses, Crane’s campaign appears more thrifty than Ferguson’s. When the Crane camp flies, they prefer the discount airline Frontier, while Ferguson flies Delta.
On the other end of the balance sheet — the incoming side — the Club for Growth Political Action Committee pops up multiple times in Crane’s itemized receipts. Over the course of the election, Club for Growth has pumped nearly $90,000 into the Crane campaign. According to its website, the group supports candidates that call for replacing income tax with a national sales tax, reducing the size of government and repealing President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act.
Filings by the Ferguson campaign show the American Dental Political Action Committee is one of his most frequent supporters, with donations totaling more than $42,000 for the cycle. Ferguson is a dentist by trade. Most of Ferguson’s campaign contributions come from individuals, with the exception of some big-name corporate lobbyists like Coca-Cola, Aflac and CSX.
Time will tell if all the spending pays off. Early voting ended Friday, and by 2 p.m., 1,165 voters had cast ballots in Troup County, according to Andy Harper, county elections supervisor. Polls open Tuesday at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Voters can check their registration status, find their polling place and view sample ballots by going online to the Georgia Secretary of State’s My Voter website at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov.