Cecil County Sheriff Campaign: Adams Tops New Fundraising Report, Sutton Has Unpaid Bills; Slater Relies on One Chief Donor
As the Cecil County Sheriffâ€™s race enters the home stretch before the June 24 primary elections, the Republican primaryâ€™s leading contenders are neck and neck in campaign finances. But the Scott Adams campaign has generated a strong wave of new contributions while three-time candidate Chris Sutton drew fewer new donations and had over $7,000 in unpaid campaign bills, according to new state finance reports.
Adams, a veteran Deputy but political newcomer, filed as a candidate in early April, 2013 and had no hold-over campaign warchest from previous years to draw upon. But the latest campaign finance reports show Adams has continued to draw substantial new donations, totaling $31,538 from 1/9/14 through 5/20/14, according to the required first pre-primary report filed this week with the State Board of Elections. In his previous finance report filed in January and covering 2013, Adams reported contributions of $31,067â€”for a total donation tally of $62,605.
In contrast, Suttonâ€™s latest campaign finance report lists $20,547 in new contributions in the same 1/9/14 through 5/20/14 time period. Previously, his January report listed $39,634 in contributions covering 2013, for a tally of $60,181. In addition, Sutton had a carry-over balance of $11,073 following his past fundraising from his 2010 campaign.
As the GOP primary enters its final weeks, both the Adams and Sutton campaigns list similar bank balances, but with one distinct difference. Adams reports cash in the bank, for last-minute campaign expenditures, of $9,109. Suttonâ€™s latest report listed cash in the bank of $9,526. However, Suttonâ€™s latest report disclosed that he had unpaid, outstanding bills of $7,073. If his bills had been paid by the deadline to file the new report, Sutton would only have $2,543 on hand. Adamsâ€™ report showed he was up to date on payments for expenses.
The largest unpaid bill for the Sutton campaign is an outstanding bill for newspaper ads in the Cecil Whig, amounting to $3,000. In the past, the Whig has generally required payment in advance for advertising, according to former candidates.
In the latest reports of contributions, Adams continued to draw virtually all of his donations from within Cecil County and especially small amounts from residents or businesses in the Rising Sun area, where he has longstanding ties through his coaching of youth sports teams and his founding of a local youth sports league. (Adams is the longtime supervisor of the Sheriffâ€™s Departmentâ€™s cops in schools program.)
In the new reports, a donation of $500 came to Adams from Conmed, a Hanover, MD business that provides medical services at the county Detention Center under a contract with the Sheriffâ€™s Department. Another significant donation in the new reports filed by Adams was $1,000 from the R.T. Foard Funeral Home in Rising Sun.
On Suttonâ€™s new report, he listed $1,600 in donations from the Elkton Nutrition business, $160 from the Cecil County Corrections Association (representing officers at the county jail), and multiple donations totaling $1,500 from Corroneâ€™s trash removal service of North East. The R.T. Foard Funeral Home of Rising Sun was listed for a $500 donation.
Both candidatesâ€™ reports listed various fundraising event ticket purchases from candidates in other races, as part of the longstanding local tradition of candidates showing up at various political fundraisers to schmooze with local residents and promote their own campaigns. But only Sutton logged a $100 ticket purchase in the new reports from appointed State Sen. Steve Hershey (R-36), who is seeking election to the seat formerly held by E.J. Pipkin.
In terms of expenses, Sutton has continued to pay a professional writer, Apryl Parcher, to handle his social media comments and campaign materials writing, with about $2,776 in new payments on top of previously reported payments to her of more than $6,000. Sutton is also buying online campaign ads via Amazon.com, amounting to about $3,000 in payments, and hired a videographer to produce online videos for $1,260.
Meanwhile, Dan Slater, another GOP candidate who lost to current Sheriff Barry Janney in the Republican primary four years ago, ranks as the third-highest campaign fundraiser in this yearâ€™s GOP contest. His latest campaign finance report shows new contributions of $5,060, on top of a previous warchest balance of $8,745.
By far, Slaterâ€™s top contributor is Richie Brooks of Rising Sun, personally and through multiple business entities that are all listed with the same post office box address in Rising Sun. Brooks, an air conditioning and heating business owner with other various business interests, has made donations either personally or through businesses to Adams and Sutton as well, but Slater has dominated his contribution listings.
In the latest finance reports, a Brooks business is listed as kicking in $580 to Slaterâ€™s campaign, on top of $3,200 from personal and related business entities on Slaterâ€™s January, 2014 campaign reportâ€”for a total of $3,780.
In recent weeks, Slaterâ€™s campaign has kicked into gear, with roadside signs showing up throughout the county. He still has $7,158 listed in his campaign bank account in the newest report to the state elections board.
Former county Sheriff Bill Killough, who last held the office in 1995, is also running this year and has posted some road signs with recycled photos showing a vastly younger candidate. His latest campaign finance report showed no new contributions and no expenditures, while has last campaign report showed he was largely self-financing his candidacy via loans of $2,971.