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Commissioner candidates could face penalties

With Election Day less than a week away, three candidates for Rowan County commissioner could face fines or penalties from the State Board of Elections.

Concerns about campaign practices of Democrat Leda Belk, Republican Greg Edds and Republican Judy Klusman were forwarded to the State Board of Elections this week. Questions about Belk and Klusman center around campaign finance forms that were due on Monday. Questions about Edds relate to a campaign flier.

Belk turned in her reports two days late.

Klusman used $500 in cash to pay for a band at a non-profit event at Saving Grace Farm, where she volunteers regularly. Klusman said she was not campaigning at the event.

Laura Russell, elections specialist at the Rowan County Board of Elections, said she forwarded concerns about Klusman’s $500 expense to the state because of campaign laws that prohibit cash expenditures more than $50. Russell said the fact that Klusman was using campaign funds for a non-campaign event was also curious.

When asked about the $500 expenditure, Klusman said it was a minor issue that she handled incorrectly.

“It should have basically just been a loan repayment,” Klusman said. “I took money out and it was money that I had loaned to my campaign. I see it as a very minor mistake; finance forms are very complicated.

Concerns about Edds’ campaign practices stem from a flier that failed to state the funding agency or group, as required by state law. Russell said she talked to Edds, who said the failure to include the funding agency or group was a printing error and not intentional.

As for fines or penalties, Russell said the decision is ultimately up to the State Board of Elections.

Candidate reports

Edds was the top fundraiser in the third quarter by a large margin.

Campaign finance reports for the county commissioner race were due Monday, and Edds led in total contributions for the third quarter by about $4,000. Edds also led in contributions for the election to date by about $1,000, once loans from a candidate to his or her committee were excluded.

Edds spent $2,802.92 in the third quarter, most of which was on advertising.

With loans included, Edds raised a total of $10,514, bringing his total to $18,303.68 over the whole election. He is the only candidate to receive a contribution from another political committee. State Rep. Harry Warren’s committee donated $1,000 to Edds on Aug. 29.

Contributions to Edds’ campaign in the third quarter greater than or equal to $100 included:

• Arnold Beaver at $100

• Ralph Brittain at $100

• Mark Byrd at $150

• Kenneth Chambers at $250

• Barry Childers at $100

• Karla Costantino at $250

• Richard Cox at $250

• Bill Godley at $250

• Dianne Greene at $100

• Elizabeth Hood at $250

• William House at $500

• Stephen Kidd at $250

• Phil Kirk at $100

• John Leatherman at $100

• Sharon Machovina at $100

• Gwen Matthews at $100

• Daniel Newton at $100

• David Norris at $500

• Bryan Overcash at $500

• Mark Petty at $250

• James Randolph at $250

• Carl Repsher at $100

• J.O. Riley at $100

• Danny Shaw at $150

• Wesley Stokes at $100

• Todd Younker at $100

Unaffiliated candidate Gene Miller raised $5,492.47, making him the second highest fundraiser in the third quarter. Over the entire course of the campaign, Miller has raised $11,687.22.

In the third quarter, Miller spent $6,699.74. His largest expense was $1,143.41, paid to Vistaprint for a postcard mailing on Oct. 17. He also paid Wooten Graphics $1,337.58 for yard signs on July 21.

Individual contributors to Miller’s campaign in amounts equal to or greater than $100 in the third quarter include:

• Mark Lewis at $100

• Bonnie McGowan at $100

• Alan King at $100

• Judy Grissom at $100

• Katherine Coley at $250

• Don Anderson at $100

• Colby Cochran at $100

• Steve Misenheimer at $100

• W.C. Stanback at $100

• Dianne Greene at $100

• Robert Cook at $100

• Fred Stanback at $300

• Gwin Barr at $250

• Garret Miller at $250

• Lorene Coates at $100

• Kenan Smith at $100

• Bill Graham at $1,000

• Paul Fisher at $250

At $2,600, unaffiliated candidate Chris Cohen raised the third largest amount of money from individuals. But Cohen’s finance reports list a significantly higher amount of total money received in the third quarter because of a $7,500 loan to himself. In the third quarter, Cohen spent $9,685.17, mostly on various forms of advertising.

Contributions to Cohen’s campaign in the third quarter greater than or equal to $100 included:

• Tom Bell at $300

• Lee Gillespe at $1,000

• John Leatherman at $100

• Tim Cohen at $500

• Steve Carson at $500

• David Aycoth at $200

Republican candidate Jim Greene raised the fourth largest amount of money of any candidate at $2,500, bringing his total over the election cycle to $13,001.77. Greene’s expenditures in the third quarter were $1,001.69. His only expenses included print advertising, printing campaign material and yard signs.

Individual contributions to Greene’s campaign in the third quarter greater than or equal to $100 include:

• Mark Lewis at $100

• Diane Greene at $100

• Ronald Steelman at $100

• Javis Arey at $200

• Sylvia Peeler at $100

• E. Hayes Smith at $100

• D.K. Smith at $100

• Jay Whittington at $150

• Charles Poole at $200

• William Graham at $1,000

• William Godley at $250

Unaffiliated candidate Raymond Coltrain raised the fifth largest amount of money in the third quarter at $1,825. Over the entire election season to date, Coltrain raised the second largest amount of money of any candidate at $17,484. In the third quarter, Coltrain’s total expenditures were $11,707.06, a large amount of which was for print, web and radio advertisements. His expenditures used nearly all of his campaign funds that remained from before the third quarter.

Contributions to Coltrain’s campaign in the third quarter greater than or equal to $100 included:

• Mark Lewis at $100

• Ronald Smith at $100

• Robert Knox III at $500

• Mark Ritchie at $100

• Steven Campbell at $100

• James Morton at $100

• Kimbery Falls at $100

• George Pless Jr. at $100

• D.K. Smith at $100

Belk received $1,509 in individual contributions in the third quarter, bringing her total amount raised to $2,459. Her expenses in the third quarter were $1,949.19, which mostly comprised advertising.

Contributions to Belk’s campaign in the third quarter greater than or equal to $100 included:

• Rhodnick Lowe at $100

• Richard Brownell at $200

• Fred Stanback at $300

• Dortha Hoy at $200

• Richard Huffin at $100

• Ron Kestner at $100

Klusman raised the second lowest amount of money in the third quarter of all candidates. In total, Klusman received $1,050 from individuals. Though, she loaned herself $7,000 in the third quarter, bringing the total amount of outstanding loans to $27,100. Klusman’s total receipts is larger than any other candidate with loans included. Her finance reports show $32,949.02, meaning she’s received about $6,000 over the course of the total campaign without loans. Klusman’s expenditures in the third quarter were $9,003.03.

Contributions to Klusman’s campaign in the third quarter greater than or equal to $100 included:

• Kevin Showfety at $200

• Susan Bame at $100

• Edward Norvell at $700

Democrat Rick Locklear raised $1,000 in the third quarter, the lowest of any commissioner candidate. Over the entire election cycle, Locklear has raised $4,376 and spent $3,246. Locklear didn’t spend any money in the third quarter.

Contributions to Locklear’s campaign in the third quarter greater than or equal to $100 included:

• D. Todd Paris at $500

• James Davis at $500

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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