State Rep. Houston Gaines, half way through the 2023 non-election year, has $456,586 net balance on hand in his campaign account.
Half way through the 2022 election year, Gaines, who represents part of Oconee County in the General Assembly, had $251,041 net balance on hand.
On June 30 of 2021, which was not an election year, Gaines had $108,514 net cash balance on hand, or less than a quarter of what he has on hand at this time.
Rep. Marcus Wiedower, who represents the majority of Oconee County voters, had $223,990 net balance on hand on June 30, 2023.
On that date last year, Wiedower had $109,786 net balance on hand, and on June 30 of 2021, he had $68,650 net balance on hand.
Sen. Bill Cowsert, who represents all of Oconee County, had $246,116 net balance on hand in his campaign account as of June 30 of this year, compared with $293,836 a year ago, and $249,499 on June 30 of 2021.
In other political but unrelated news, two candidates have filed to run against incumbent council members in Watkinsville, meaning that an election will be held in November. Incumbent Mayor Brian Brodrick did not get a challenger.
North High Shoals will get a new mayor and a new council member, and a new member will join the council in Bogart, but neither will have elections in November.
Gaines’ Contribution Disclosure Statement
Gaines filed a Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report for the period ending on June 30, 2023, on July 10, the final day of the grace period for filing the report.
|Gaines Official Photo|
Gaines reported receiving $50,700 in the first half of the year, during most of which the legislature was in session and campaign contributions were not allowed.
Gaines reported that he spent $17,929 during that period.
Gaines listed 84 contributions during the first six months of the year, with the largest being from Community Development and Health PAC of Georgia for $3,000.
Gaines also had contributions of $2,000 each from AT&T Georgia PAC and the Georgia Medical Political Action Committee.
For 82 of those 84 contributions, Gaines listed the state of the contributor. Out of state contributors made up 23 of the 84. Atlanta dominates the contributions from inside the state, and only two come from contributors with an Athens address.
The State Ethics Commission lists a credit card as the recipient of the bulk of Gaines’ expenditures in its data file, but Gaines does list out the “End Recipient” on the actual form.
The largest expenditure is $3,192 with Highland Walk in Atlanta for “official lodging,” followed by B&H Photo in New York for $1,888 in “campaign technology,” and another listing for $1,785 with Highland Walk for “official lodging.”
Wiedower’s Contribution Disclosure Statement
Wiedower’s Contribution Disclosure Statement for June 30, 2023, which is misfiled on the state site for the previous year, was dated July 5, 2023. (I delayed this post while I sought out Wiedower’s report. Wiedower did not respond to a request for assistance.)
|Wiedower Official Photo|
Wiedower reported that he received $17,100 during the first six months of 2023, and that he spent $14,459.
Wiedower reported that he received 31 contributions since Jan. 1 of 2023, with the largest being $2,500 from PGA Tour Pac, followed by $1,500 from Metro Atlanta Chamber Political Action Committee.
Five of Wiedower’s contributions, including from the PGA tour, are from outside the state, and only two have a local address.
The largest expenditure for $3,000, also is to Highland Walk in Atlanta for “candidate travel, lodging, and meals.”
Cowsert’s Contribution Disclosure Statement
Cowsert’s Contribution Disclosure Statement for June 30, 2023, was filed on July 8.
|Cowsert Official Photo|
Cowsert reported that he received $18,500 in the first six months of this year, and that he spent $23,522.
Cowsert listed 23 contributions since Jan. 1 of this year, with the largest being $3,300 from the Georgia Medical Political Action Committee, followed by $1,500 from Gulfside Casino Partnership.
Six of the listed 23 contributions are from outside the state, including the one from Gulfside, which lists a Gulfport, Miss., address.
Only one of Cowsert’s contributions has an Athens address.
Cowsert’s largest expenditure was a $5,000 contribution to the Georgia Republican Senatorial Committee, followed by contributions of $3,000 and $2,090 to the University of Georgia Foundation.
Qualifiers for Post 1 on the Watkinsville Council are Rebecca Billings and incumbent Charlie J. Garrett.
On her qualification form, Billings lists her profession as “retail,” her age as 42, her address as 149 VFW Drive, and her time in residence in Georgia as 42 years, with all of those in Oconee County and 10 of those in Watkinsville.
Garrett lists his profession as sales manager, his age as 66, his address as 25 South Main Street, and his time in residence in Georgia as 66 years, with all of those in Oconee County and the last five in Watkinsville.
Qualifiers for Post 2 are incumbent Connie Massey and Carolyn Maultsby.
Massey lists her occupation on the qualification form as retired, her age as 73, her address as 2 Second Street, her time in Georgia as 44 years, with 38 of those in Oconee County, and the same number of years in Watkinsville.
Maultsby lists her occupation as self-employed, her age as 58, her address as 1050 Taylors Drive, her time in Georgia as 26 years, with all of those in Oconee County and in Watkinsville.
Bogart And North High Shoals
Neither incumbent Bogart Mayor Janet Jones nor incumbent City Council Member John Larkin received a challenge.
Brenda Acton decided not to run for re-election.
Jon Payne was the sole candidate to qualify for Acton’s seat on Council.
In North High Shoals, Mayor Violet Dawes did not seek re-election.
Steven Goad qualified as the sole candidate to replace Dawes as mayor.
Eric Carlson qualified as the sole candidate for Post 1.
Incumbent Post 2 Council Member Jason Presley chose not to seek re-election, and Fred Johnson was the sole person to qualify for that post.
Because there are no contests, neither city will hold an election.