Monday, October 24, 2016

Wiedower Raised Nearly Twice As Much Money In Oconee County Board Of Commission Race As Other Two Candidates Combined

Sign On Davis Property

Marcus Wiedower has raised just less than $24,000 in his bid to gain a seat on the Oconee County Board of Commissioners, more than twice the amount of money raised by Chuck Horton, his nearest competitor in fundraising.

Through the end of the day today, Horton had raised $11,485, while Ben Bridges, the third candidate seeking Post II on the BOC, had raised $500.

Horton actually outspent Wiedower, using up nearly all of the money he raised, while Wiedower is sitting on nearly $15,000 in unspent funds, according to his Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report.

Oconee County Post I Commissioner Jim Luke, who is retiring, contributed $583 to Horton’s campaign.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin Davis did not contribute more than $100 to Wiedower’s campaign, but he and his wife have a sign for Wiedower near the driveway of their home on Oliver Bridge Road in the south of the county.

Early voting continued to be heavy today, with 659 voters casting their ballots, according to Pat Hayes, director of the Oconee County Board of Elections. The total for the first six days of early voting is 3,696, or 13.3 percent of the county’s 27,845 registered voters.

Horton’s Funds

Horton loaned himself $5,554, or nearly half of the money he raised, according to his Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report.

Wiedower Sign On Davis'  Property

The reports for the special election to fill the unexpired term on the BOC were due today. The election is on Nov. 8.

Horton received $1,000 from Bill and Lisa Douglas, who have a farm outside Bishop, and $500 from Don and Suzanne Leebern, a businessman and retired coach.

My wife, Ann Hollifield, also a professor at the University of Georgia, contributed $250. She has a sign for Horton in our front yard.

Horton has spent most of his money on various types of advertising, including in The Oconee Enterprise, on Facebook, on billboards, and via yard signs.

Horton, 62, is parking director for Athens-Clarke County.

Wiedower’s Funds

Wiedower’s largest contributor is U.S. Rep. Mark Eugene Amodei, a Republican representing Nevada's second congressional district, consisting of the northern part of the state. Amodei contributed $2,000.

Larry Benson, owner of Benson Bakery and SpringHill Suites, 3500 Daniells Bridge Road, contributed $1,000. Benson formerly was campaign chairman for BOC Chair Davis.

Wiedower contributed $1,000 to his campaign, and his wife contributed $500.

Wiedower, 41, is president of BluePrint Builders, 3 BH Inc., and Bulldawg Builders, 8771 Old Macon Highway.

Wiedower’s partner in his building businesses, Todd Burton of Athens, contributed $750.

The law requires that candidates list all individual contribution of $100 or greater on the Disclosure Report, but Wiedower listed contributions as small as $20.

Builder Links

Many of Wiedower’s contributors are in the building and development businesses.

John Hadden, owner of Albright Electric in Athens, contributed $1,000.

Tom Griffith, founder of Golden Pantry, contributed $500 as did Charlie Whalen, vice president of construction for Landmark Properties, Jarrett Eidell, owner of Northeast Georgia Quality Roofs, and Mike Cain, owner of Millstone Homes.

Carl Nichols and Kathryn Nichols each contributed $250. Nichols is a broker with Nichols Land and Management.

Eddie Thaxton, a realtor with The Leaders Real Estate Group, and Brad Tucker, owner of Georgia Collision Center, also each contributed $500.

Wiedower Expenditures

Wiedower’s biggest expenditure was with War Room Strategies, a Republican campaign firm founded by Jordan Chinouth, with offices in Athens.

Wiedower spent $5,165 with War Room Strategies for signs, literature, software and data, according to his report.

Wiedower has had at least two polls, conducted by automatic phone calls, in the field in recent months.

If none of the three candidates wins a majority, the race will go into a runoff in December. The poll data could help Wiedower know how to use the reserve funds he has.

He also purchased magnets, T-shirts, stickers and newspaper advertisements.

Bridges’ Funds

Bridges reported a single contribution of $250 from Chris Green. No address or occupation is listed for Green on the campaign contribution report.

He lists another $250 in contributions of less than $100 and expenditures of $696 for advertisements and signs.

Bridges had joked in the one-on-one interview I did with him on Sept. 24 that he had raised almost no money, and his report reflects that.

Bridges, 50, is a production manager at Pilgrim’s, a chicken producer in Athens.

Horton, in the interview I did with him on Sept. 25, said he had raised about $3,500 at that point, which seems to be an accurate figure based on his disclosure report.

Wiedower refused to indicate how much he had raised in the interview I did with him on Sept. 27, saying I would have to wait until he filed the report today to get that figure.

Fundraising Comparisons

Wiedower’s $23,965 in contributions is dwarfed by the $74,000 Kevin “Chappy” Hynes raised in his unsuccessful effort to unseat Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry in the May Republican primary.

Berry raised $22,248.

According to the records on file with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, Horton raised $8,165 in his 2012 campaign for Chair of the Board of Commissioners.

Davis raised $26,691 that year in his successful effort to be reelected as Chair.

Bridges, Horton and Wiedower are running as Republicans in the Nov. 8 election.


Anonymous said...

Wiedower’s largest contributor is U.S. Rep. Mark Eugene Amodei, a Republican representing Nevada's second congressional district, consisting of the northern part of the state. Amodei contributed $2,000.

Larry Benson, owner of Benson Bakery and SpringHill Suites, 3500 Daniells Bridge Road, contributed $1,000.

Marcus, what is a US Rep from Nevada doing with a $2,000 contribution- to a county commission race in a small Georgia county???

And taking $1
,000 from Melvin's campaign manager is red flag #1. Ties to King Melvin is a deal breaker.

rightway1974 said...

Wiedowers donations from all his builder buddies is telling. Easy to see where his loyalties lie.

Xardox said...

Fascinating information.
Two thousand from a representative from Nevada must be an interesting story.
A builder in a rapidly growing, high-income, low-unemployment county is also an interesting combination. I'm not sure I've ever seen or heard of a BOC candidate having enough scratch to conduct polling, let alone hire a strategic consultant. He must be quite interested in winning this contest.
No wonder the Chamber of Commerce and his business partner is supporting him.

Anonymous said...

Look at Amodei's financial backers. See what business industry they come from.
With these type of players in the mix, I suspect the BOC seat is really not what Wiedower and his buddies are interested in the long run.
Your county will be changed beyond recognition.
Hold on to your wallets.

Lee, thanks for the report.

mike streetman said...

Thanks Anom 7:52 AM
Perhaps Rep. Amodei is a relative of Mr Weidower, or a past client or someone he met on a vacation trip.
Very interesting when you google Rep. Amodei donors at It does give one pause to wonder.
You could be correct if there is not an simple innocent explanation.
Is there?

Anonymous said...

I'm curious why Oconee County is important enough to attract a relatively large donation from a politician in Nevada. Hummmm......

Zippity said...

Very interesting about Mr. Wiedower, always suspected he was not what he says he is. This proves it. No wonder he did not want to reveal anything until he had to.

rightway1974 said...

Rep. Amodei's top contributors were the national association of home builders and national association of realtors. We sure dont need anymore people like that on any board in the county. A vote for Weidower is a vote to let the graft continue in Oconee County.

Anonymous said...

Contact Congressman Amodei
775/686-5760 Reno Office
775/777-7795 Elko Office
202/225-6155 Washington Office
He won't take emails, except from folks in his district. Seems like if he wants to tell us how to conduct our county government, we should be able to contact him. Maybe their local newspapers can shed some light on their Congressman's generosity. His constituents may want to know way he is interested in Oconee County, GA.

What was Weidower's line-let me tell you about myself. He seemed to have forgotten a few things.
Can the campaign season get any worse?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:45 PM
Your question- why is this race important to outside interests, like a Congressman from Nevada.
MONEY. The potential profits in buying the land and development is tremendous.
Very sad day for Oconee.

Anonymous said...

Markus is not transparent. He is a politician. Oconee County does not need this kind of person in office. So many red flags. People, do your homework!
Excellent reporting Lee!