Big financial edge didn’t help sheriff in primary
By Bobby Bryant
Darlington County Sheriff Tony Chavis raised nearly four times more campaign money and spent 12 times more than his opponent in the Democratic primary, but still failed to win the party’s nomination for a second term as sheriff, the candidates’ campaign reports indicate.
Chavis’ foe, former Hartsville police chief James Hudson Jr., won the Democratic nomination for sheriff June 9 with 56 percent of the vote even though he raised and spent much less than Chavis, according to campaign-finance reports the candidates filed with the State Ethics Commission.
Chavis’ most recent campaign-finance report, filed with the Ethics Commission May 26, says he raised $50,808 during the primary campaign and spent $36,065 of those funds. Hudson’s most recent campaign report to the state agency, dated June 4, says he raised $13,785 and spent $2,908 of that amount.
The incumbent sheriff, who still will serve until January 2021, reported that he raised $48,840 for the election cycle from individual contributors and received $1,968 in in-kind contributions. Chavis reported that he used none of his personal funds and took out no loans for the campaign.
Chavis reported that his biggest donors – each contributing $1,000 – included Morrell Motor Co. of Hartsville, Lori Wallace of Hartsville, Will Alexander of Hartsville, Quality Auto Sales of Hartsville, Lake City Family Medicine and Carolina Bank of Florence.
Hudson’s most recent campaign report to the Ethics Commission says he raised $12,890 from individual contributors and received $645 in in-kind contributions. He reported using $250 of his own money and said he took out no loans.
Hudson reported his biggest donors, giving $1,000 each, included Gregory McDonald of Hartsville and Marshall Flowers of Darlington.
Two County Council races were fought in the primary election, but neither involved big dollars either being raised or spent.
Incumbent councilman Bobby Kilgo, who lost his bid for the Republican nomination for council’s District 1 seat to challenger Angie Stone Godbold, reported raising $1,800. He said $800 of that amount was individual contributions and $1,000 was a loan.
Godbold, who was making her first bid for office, reported raising $2,945. She said $100 of that was her personal funds, $725 was individual contributions, $620 was a loan, and $1,500 was in-kind contributions. She has no Democratic opposition in November’s general election.
County Council member Le Flowers, who won the GOP nomination for District 5 and has no Democratic opposition in the fall, reported raising $4,975, all of it his personal funds. His GOP opponent, Joe Ard, reported raising and spending no money in his most recent campaign report.
In the GOP primary for the S.C. Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Gerald Malloy of Hartsville, nominee J.D. Chaplin reported raising $32,330 for the race and spending $14,338 of that amount. He said $19,857 of that was individual contributions and $12,473 was a loan. He reported using no personal funds or receiving any in-kind contributions.
Chaplin’s campaign reports list his biggest donors ($1,000 each) as C&C Farms of Hartsville, C&C Poultry of Hartsville, Dearfield Farms of Darlington and Danny Johnson of Hartsville.
Ronald Reese Page, Chaplin’s GOP opponent for the nomination, reported raising $4,146 for the race and spending nearly all of that amount. He reported using $3,646 of his personal funds and receiving $500 in individual contributions. He reported no loans or in-kind contributions.
Meanwhile, Sen. Malloy, who Chaplin will face in the November election, has filed campaign reports to the State Ethics Commission indicating he has already built up an overwhelming war chest for the fall campaign. Malloy’s filings say that he began this reporting period with $283,445 in contributions “on hand,” and his total “on hand” contributions for this reporting period were $306,839.