Analysis: Augusta County sheriff candidates spending big money on campaigns
How much does the Augusta County sheriff job cost? Through the end of last week, the four candidates running for the $105,000-a-year position being left open by the retirement of Randy Fisher had spent a total of $179,357.96 on their political campaigns.
According to reports on file with the State Board of Elections for campaign activity through Oct. 22, the candidates – Derek Almarode, Neil Kester, Todd Lloyd and Donald Smith – had raised an aggregate $186,550.04 for their campaigns, with reports naming a total of 199 individuals and businesses making contributions of cash, in-kind donations of products or services or both.
The candidates had spent a combined $54,438 on campaign signs and banners, according to an analysis of campaign reports by Augusta Free Press, with the Lloyd campaign accounting for $19,105 of that total, according to its reports.
The Smith campaign is a close second in the line item for signs and banners spending, listing $18,827 in its reports for signs and banners. The Smith campaign also had committed the most money of the four to TV and radio advertising – a total of $6,719 to date for advertisements on WHSV-TV3 in Harrisonburg, WTON in Staunton and iHeart Media in Harrisonburg.
The Lloyd campaign lists $4,675 in advertising on WHSV-TV3.
The Kester campaign itemized on its reports $10,951 in spending on signs and banners. The Kester campaign reports did not list any mass media advertising.
The Almarode campaign listed $5,555 in spending on signs and banners and $1,500 in advertising on Star 94.3-FM in Staunton. The Almarode campaign also included a line item for a $10,630 in-kind donation from the Republican Party of Virginia for campaign mailings.
The Almarode report listed a total of $16,050 in spending on political mailers, all in the month of October.
- The Smith campaign had raised and spent the most to date. The Smith finance reports listed $68,629.76 in contributions, $66,797.60 in expenditures, with $1,832.16 cash on hand as of Oct. 22. The single-biggest contributor on the Smith campaign reports is Smooth Athletics in Fishersville, which has contributed cash and in-kind donations totaling $8,735 to the Smith campaign.
- The Lloyd campaign reports list $42,375.83 in contributions, $42,286.64 in expenditures, and $89.19 cash on hand. The single-biggest contributor to the Lloyd campaign is Earhart and Associates, a Stuarts Draft-based realty company, which has contributed cash and in-kind donations totaling $9,228 to the Lloyd campaign.
- The Almarode campaign lists $38,080 in contributions, $37,736.55 in expenses, and $343.45 cash on hand. The Republican Party of Virginia is the single-largest contributor with the $10,630 in-kind donation detailed above. Advanced Telephone and Data in Stuarts Draft is listed as having made a $2,000 cash donation to the Almarode campaign.
- The Kester campaign reports listed $37,464.45 in contributions, $32,537.17 in expenditures, and $4,927.28 cash on hand. The Kester reports list two $5,000-plus donors: Ira Biggs of Commonwealth Excavating in Verona provided $5,238 for an unspecified in-kind donation, and Barry Munsey, a physician with Valley Family Medicine in Staunton, donated $5,098 in cash.
– Story by Chris Graham