Review of October 25th Board of Education campaign disclosure reports


The last campaign financial disclosure reports before the election on Tuesday have now been filed. In summary, the candidates raised over $850 thousand, received loans of $83 thousand and spent approximately $709 thousand over the course of the campaign.

My estimate is that there were approximately 3,400 donors with an average contribution of approximately $251 each. Forty seven percent of the total was from 241 donors that contributed on average $1,628 each. At the other end of the spectrum, there were approximately 1,530 donors that each contributed less than $100 each

The races attracting the most contributions were the At Large 8 with $250 thousand, District 1 with $159 thousand, At Large 7 with $149 thousand and At Large 9 with $97 thousand and District 6 with $83 thousand. Districts 4 and 5 each raised in the $30 thousand range.

As of October 25th, the last day of the reporting period, the campaigns still had $216 thousand of cash on hand to use in the final days of the race.

The following is an analysis by District:

District 1 – In the race between incumbent Brenda Muhammad and small business owner Leslie Grant, a combined total of $159 thousand was raised by the campaigns. Additionally, neither campaign borrowed any money. Of the total raised, Muhammad received 58% and Grant 42%. What is also interesting is that nearly 58% of Muhammad’s contributions were for amounts in excess of $1,000. On the other hand, Grant raised 77% of her contributions from small donors giving $250 or less. In fact, 49% of Grant’s contributions were below $100. Assuming an average of $75 per non-itemized contributions below $100, Muhammad averaged $481 per contribution from 192 donors and Grant averaged $115 per contribution from approximately 580 donors. It is also interesting to note that the total amount contributed in this race is nearly double the amount contributed for any of the other contested district races (D-4, 5 & 6).

  • Leslie Grant – Grant reported a total of $3.8 thousand raised in October for a total of $66.5 thousand for the campaign to-date and after expenses ended the reporting period with $11.2 thousand of cash on-hand. In October, she received a $1,000 contribution from the Buckhead Coalition Better Communities PAC.
  • Brenda Muhammad (I) – Muhammad reported a total of $6.7 thousand raised in October for a total of $92.5 thousand for the total campaign and has $26.5 thousand of cash on hand as of October 25th. During October, Muhammad received a $2,500 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union (AFSCME).

District 2 – Incumbent Byron Amos is running unopposed and had limited fund-raising with only $6.1 thousand in contributions for the entire race.

District 3 – Matt Westmoreland is running unopposed, but still raised $37.4 thousand over the course of the entire campaign to-date.

District 4 – In the race between Meister and Bowman, a total of $36.4 thousand was raised during the campaign. Bowman’s 43 contributors gave an average of $384 each and Meister received approximately 69 contributions averaging $290 each.

  • Taryn Bowman – Bowman reported a total of $5.5 thousand raised in October for a total of $16.5 thousand for the campaign to-date. She received $2,500 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union (AFSCME) and $1,000 from the Buckhead Coalition Better Communities PAC. As of October 25th, Bowman has $175 left and an unpaid loan of $5,000.
  • Nancy Meister (I) – Meister reported a total of $$7.9 raised in October for a total of $19.9 raised    through October 25th. After expenses, she had $1.0 thousand of cash on hand at the end of the reporting period. In October, she received a $1,000 contribution from the Atlanta Realtors PAC.

District 5 – A total of $32.2 thousand was raised by the four candidates in the race. The race is between IT consultant Mary Palmer; small business owner Steven Lee; IT consultant Raynard Johnson (he has not filed the last two required reports); and realtor Charles Lawrence.

  • Mary Palmer – Palmer raised $12.8 thousand during the campaign to-date and has $5.8 thousand in cash on hand as of October 25th. The average size donation for Palmer was $472 from 27 contributors.
  • Steven Lee – Lee raised $12.9 thousand for the entire campaign through October 25th. There appears to be some errors in the report submitted by Lee and so the amount of cash on hand at the end of the reporting period is unknown. Lee’s average size donation was $428 from 30 contributors.
  • Raynard Johnson – Johnson has not filed reports for either the third quarter or for the period ending October 25th.
  • Charles Johnson – the October 25th `campaign report has not been filed.

District 6 – The four-way race has garnered at least $83.1 thousand in contributions, however the exact amount is unknown as Shawnna Hayes-Tavares has not filed the last campaign disclosure report. Also, while retired teacher Anne McKenzie has filed her reports, they are not available on-line. Of the $83.1 thousand, Eshe’ Collins has received the bulk of the contributions and accounts for 59% of the total funds contributed to this race.

  • Eshe’ Collins – Collins raised $3.6 thousand in October for a total of $47.2 thousand campaign to-date and after expenses, she has $9.5 thousand of cash on hand as of October 25th. During October she received a $1,000 contribution from the Buckhead Coalition Better Communities PAC. Assuming an average of $75 per non-itemized contributions below $100, Collins averaged $277 per contribution from 171 donors.
  • Dell Byrd – Byrd raised a total of $18.4 thousand to-date for her campaign. However, all the details are not available as she has not yet filed the third quarter campaign disclosure report. In addition, there may be some errors in the last report filed as it shows a negative cash balance on hand as of October 25th.
  • Shawnna Hayes-Tavares – the October 25th `campaign report has not been filed
  • Anne McKenzie – McKenzie filed her third quarter and October 25th campaign disclosure reports, but they are not available on-line.

At Large 7 – In the hotly contested citywide race between incumbent Courtney English and education administrator Nisha Simama, a total of $149.4 thousand has been raised through October 25th. English accounts for 58% and Simama for 42% of the total. Assuming an average of $75 per non-itemized contributions below $100, English averaged $239 per contribution from approximately 362 donors and Simama averaged $222 per contribution from approximately 284 donors.

  • Courtney English  (I) – During October, English raised $11.0 thousand for a total of $86.5 for the campaign to-date. There appears to be an error in the most recent campaign report filed as it does not reflect any expenses in October. As such, the cash on hand balance as of October 25th is unknown. During October, English received a $2,500 contribution from Mayor Kasim Reed and a $1,000 contribution from the Red Clay Democrats PAC.
  • Nisha Simama – Simama raised $5.5 thousand in October and a total of $62.9 campaign to-date. After expenses, she had $14.8 thousand of cash on hand as of October 25th. During October, she received a $650 contribution from the Georgia Federation of Teachers and a $1,000 contribution from the Buckhead Coalition Better Communities PAC.

At Large 8 – Enough has already been written about this race due to the large amount raised by real estate developer Mark Riley who reported $99 thousand in contributions in the third quarter plus an additional $31 thousand in October. In total, Riley captured 52% of all the total $255 thousand contributed to this race through October 25th. Riley’s contributors also individually gave large amounts with 74% of his total contributions greater than $1,000 and averaged $1,778 for each of the 54 large amount contributors. Reuben McDaniel (I) also relied on larger contributors with 57% of his total contributions coming from 26 donors who contribute $1,000+ each and averaged $1,308 per donor.

  • Mark Riley – As noted above, Riley raised an additional $30.6 thousand in October for a total of $129.3 thousand campaign to-date. After expenses, he had $21.5 thousand of cash on hand as of October 25th. Of the amounts raised in October, 52% of the total was from contributors giving $1,000+ and included a $1,000 contribution from the Buckhead Coalition Better Communities PAC.
  • Reuben McDaniel (I) – McDaniel reported a total of $16.1 thousand raised in October for a total of $59.6 thousand for the campaign to-date. In addition, the campaign received an additional loan in the amount of $7.7 thousand, bringing the campaign debt to $20.2 thousand. After expenses, the campaign ended the reporting period with $10.4 thousand of cash on hand. During October, he received $1,000 from the Buckhead Coalition Better Communities PAC, $2,000 from the Giornelli family, $1,000 from Tom Cousins and $2,500 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union (AFSCME).
  • Tom Tidwell – Tidwell raised $2.7 thousand in October for a total of $42.0 thousand in contributions for the campaign to-date. On average, each of his approximately 165 donors contributed an average of $254 each. As of October 25th, he had $28.3 thousand of cash on hand and an outstanding loan of $20.0 thousand.
  • Cynthia Briscoe Brown – Brown raised $3.3 thousand in October for a total of $19.1 thousand for the campaign to-date. In addition, Brown received a loan in the amount of $12 thousand and ended the reporting period with $1.3 thousand of cash on hand. During the campaign she received contributions from 96 donors that averaged $199 each.

At Large 9 – This race has brought in $97.0 thousand in total and Jason Esteves has captured nearly 70% of the total contributions reported so far. The total for the race will go higher, but Lori James has not yet submitted her campaign report for October.

  • Jason Esteves – Esteves reported a total of $23.6 thousand of contributions received in October for a total of $66.5 thousand for the campaign to-date and after expenses ended the reporting period with $16.4 thousand of cash on hand and has a $5,000 loan outstanding. His contributions from approximately 166 donors averaged $401 each. During October, he received a $1,000 contribution from the Buckhead Coalition Better Communities PAC and a $2.500 contribution from the Red Clay Democrats PAC.
  • Ed Johnson – During October, Johnson did not receive any contributions and has only raised $594 to-date. The funds were expended and he has a zero cash balance as of the end of the reporting period.
  • Sean Norman – Norman raised $5.0 thousand in October for a total of $16.4 thousand for the campaign to-date and has $1.6 thousand of cash on hand. During the campaign he received contributions from 64 reported donors that averaged $257 each.
  • Lori James – the October 25th campaign report has not been filed.

For some races and, for some specific candidates, there was a lot of money raised. Let’s see how the vote comes out tomorrow to determine if the amount of contributions or the number of contributors is reflected in the outcome.

[Follow me on Twitter @Financial_Decon]

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