BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Campaign finance filings reveal the two Republican candidates in Sullivan County’s mayoral race have spent a combined $46,200 to get elected, but one has spent over three times more than the other.
According to financial disclosure statements filed by each campaign, county commissioner and mayoral candidate Angie Stanley spent $36,451 through March 31 while incumbent mayor Richard Venable spent $9,748.
Stanley’s largest reported expenditure was $24,036 to Axiom Strategies, a Kansas City-based GOP political consulting firm, for mailers. Stanley also paid Axiom $2,000 for campaign consulting.
First District Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger (R-Kingsport) used Axiom during her successful 2020 election bid, paying the company more than $50,000 for consulting and hundreds of thousands more for media buys and other campaign publicity expenses on her behalf.
Venable’s largest expense was $5,250 to Shell, Miller, & Sebastian Advertising of Johnson City for creative services.
Records show that Stanley has largely bankrolled her own campaign, at least through the end of March. Of the $106,525 in total receipts reported, $100,000 came from a loan Stanley made to her campaign back in December.
Regarding her triple-digit loan, Stanley told News Channel 11 in February that she wanted people to see that she was serious about running for mayor and said she was not relying on others to fund her campaign.
Venable has also relied on self-funding but to a lesser extent. Records show that of the $78,175 in total receipts his campaign reported, $45,000 came from two candidate loans.
While Stanley committed over twice as much of her own money as Venable did through March 31, the incumbent mayor received over five times more in campaign contributions than his challenger. Venable supporters donated $33,175 to his campaign while Stanley’s contributed $6,475, according to each candidate’s campaign finance filings.
Venable’s campaign also reported 34 donations that exceeded $100 (candidates are required to list each contribution over $100). Stanley’s campaign reported 12 contributions above $100 plus two in-kind contributions valued at more than $100.
The two campaigns had nearly the same amount of money in their coffers as of the end of March, with Venable reporting $69,012 on hand and Stanley reporting $70,073.
Early voting for county primary elections in Tennessee began Wednesday and will continue through April 28. Election Day is May 3.
The winner of the Republican primary for Sullivan County mayor will face two independent candidates, Val Edwards George and Bobby Weaver, in the Aug. 4 general election.