Rowan Alliance spends over $40,000 on county commissioners race

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 12, 2018

SALISBURY — Second-quarter financial reports are in for local political action committees, and the Rowan Alliance reported spending $40,710.50. Most of it — $40,121.50 — was in expenditures advocating for the defeat of county commissioner candidates Craig Pierce and Jim Sides.

The PAC, of which local businessman Jake Alexander is the treasurer, spent nearly $25,000 on a similar goal during the 2014 election.

The biggest expense for the committee this year was direct-mail appeals. Some $15,944.25 went to that campaign, which prompted an email response from candidate Sides along the campaign trail.

“The choice is yours. You can believe the garbage that comes in your mail,” Sides said in an email to voters. ” … Or you can believe the truth, that in spite of the many faults he may have, Jim Sides is not quite as bad as some people tell you he is.”

Salisbury’s Miller Davis Agency handled the direct-mail campaign, with $1,350 dedicated to the ads’ designs. The remaining $14,594.25 was spent on production.

Next highest in expenditures were social media ads, also handled by Miller Davis. The ads cost the alliance a total of $8,959.25 for creation, monitoring and placement.

Nearly tied was spending for digital and print ads in the Salisbury Post, costing the PAC $6,515.53 and $6,802.47, respectively, with nearly half of that going to Miller Davis for ad design.

Last came radio ads on local station WSAT, on which Rowan Alliance spent $1,900. Of that total, $900 was for creative development by Miller Davis.

The independent expenditures totaled 98.5 percent of the money spent by the PAC during the second quarter. The remaining $598 went to Roger W. Knight in Raleigh for legal fees.

Expenditures were covered in a near-even split of receipts from the first and second quarters.

First-quarter reports showed the alliance received $20,500.

Contributors included Matt Barr at $1,000, Edward Norvell at $2,000, Richard Reamer at $1,000, Corporate Leasing Services at $5,000, Klumac Partners at $10,000 and Mark Ritchie at $1,500.

This quarter, the PAC received $21,600: $100 from Cindy Fink, $1,500 from Mark Ritchie and $20,000 from Southern Initiatives, a PAC Alexander also oversees.

Alexander said in a May interview with the Post that the results of the primary election, advancing incumbents Greg Edds, Jim Greene and Judy Klusman, were “wonderful for Rowan County.”

“It’s wonderful for the variety of issues that are so important for our community: economic development, education and, most importantly, the tone of political debate from some people,” he said. “We especially fault Jim Sides for the previous negative tone, and we have for decades. For him to lose is a real victory for Rowan County.”