In case of death, nine city council candidates choose location for leftover money

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 4, 2015

Nine of Salisbury’s 16 city council candidates have a spot picked out for leftover campaign money in case he or she dies.

Among the list of forms candidates for elected office file is one specifying where campaign funds should go in the event of a death. It’s an optional form and not commonly filed out, said Elections Director Nancy Evans. This year, however, nine of Salisbury’s 16 city council members opted to turn in the form, titled “Candidate Designation of Committee Funds.”

The options for candidates include: giving it to a political party; another political group or candidate; or a non-profit.

A variety of groups appear on the forms. Only two groups — Central NC Council of the Boy Scouts of America and non-profit outreach organization Rowan Helping Ministries — are repeated.

Software engineer Roy Bentley and local attorney Todd Paris picked the local council of the Boy Scouts of America. The candidates who listed Rowan Helping Ministries were Rip Kersey, a Realtor and retired engineer, and Troy Russell, a Livingstone College professor and pastor.

Bentley and Paris are or were heavily involved in Boy Scouts. Bentley currently serves as Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 448. Paris is an Eagle Scout. He was a Cubmaster for Pack 351 when his son Doug was involved.

Russell and Kersey have extensive volunteer experience with Rowan Helping Ministries. Russell said he has volunteered at Rowan Helping Ministries with his students at Livingstone and a local church he was previously the pastor of. Kersey has volunteered at Rowan Helping Ministries, served as a life coach and served on the organization’s board.

Other candidates who have filed the Candidate Designation of Committee Funds form include: Karen Alexander, who selected the state’s fund used for elections to receive campaign contributions in the event of her death; David Post, who selected the David Post Family Foundation; Ken Hardin, who selected Tsunami Development Literacy Program; Tamara Sheffield, who selected Salisbury Pride; Jeff Watkins, who selected Guiding Light Missionary Baptist Association.

However, there’s not much money flowing around just yet, according to the latest campaign reports. Candidates with the largest amount of money in campaign accounts include Tamara Sheffield, Todd Paris and Mark Lewis. Incumbents were required to file a mid-year report. Challengers were required to file an organization report that included the first few days of income and expenses.

By a little less than $1,000, Sheffield leads the pack of candidates in cash on hand, according to the latest campaign reports. She received a total of $5,116.79 in contributions and has $3,192 in cash on hand, according to a campaign report dated for July 21. A significant sum — more than $1,000 — was Sheffield’s own money. Her largest single contribution was $500 from Salisbury resident Steve Cobb, who lists his profession as a teacher at Cannon School.

Lewis is second in cash on hand. All of his money is leftover from prior campaigns, according to filed reports.

Paris is third with $2,425 in cash on hand. Two-thirds of his donations came from a single source — local attorney Pete Hoffman — who gave Paris $2,000.

After that, there’s a steep dropoff. The next highest is Brian Miller at $201.73, according to the latest reports. Maggie Blackwell’s campaign account had $700 dollars in cash on hand according to dated campaign reports, but an updated version isn’t available on the Board of Elections’ website.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.