Mayoral campaign cash: Who’s writing the checks?

More than $7 million has been raised in the race to seat Atlanta’s next leader

Mitchell Inauguration 077.57d178198005e.59723e5fd2b2b
Photo credit: Joeff Davis/CL File
Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell

Another fundraising period has come and passed for Atlanta’s mayoral candidates, and the nine serious contenders have logged a combined $7 million in contributions so far.Creative Loafing dug through the hundreds of pages of campaign finance reports published early this month, in an attempt to illustrate who’s been shelling out for the candidates during this fundraising quarter.

Ceasar Mitchell:

Total: $1,699,086

This quarter: $305,361

On-hand: $529,342

Atlanta’s Council president, who’s boasting the biggest cash grab thus far, is taking in tons of donations from local lawyers and medical professionals. Mitchell’s also making moves among consultant groups, bankers, college professors and real estate companies, not to mention a few local politicians and small-business owners.

Peter Aman:

Total (as of June 30): $1,656,238

This quarter: $504,193

On-hand (after campaign expenses): $801,179

Atlanta’s ex-chief operating officer has been raking in hefty checks from lawyers, consultancy groups namely Bain & Co., his former employer real estate developers and investors, and other business heavies. He’s wooed checks from Matt Bronfman (the brains behind Ponce City Market), higher-ups at Coca-Cola and Delta, and some executives from Cox Enterprises all Atlanta powerhouses. But most of his campaign cash is coming from monies that Aman is loaning his own campaign.

Mary Norwood:

Total: $1,019,464

This quarter: $336,930

On-hand: $653,278

The councilwoman, who barely lost to Mayor Kasim Reed in Atlanta’s 2009 mayoral contest, seems to be claiming most checks from private citizens billed as “homemakers,” “retired,” or “self-employed.” Norwood’s disclosure report also shows significant sums coming from real estate professionals, law firms, and attorneys one lawyer from Coca-Cola. James Kennedy, the chairman of Cox Enterprises, dished out a cool $4,000 for Norwood’s campaign, $1,400 of that is reserved for the looming runoff election.

Kwanza Hall:

Total: $513,051

This quarter: $204,017

On-hand: $361,070

Atlanta’s District 2 councilman is reaping the benefits of his relationships with restaurateurs and club owners in and around Old Fourth Ward. Hall’s campaign has cashed checks from Ladybird owner Michael Lennox, Tongue and Groove CEO Michael Krohngold, and John Morrison, who owns swaths of Atlanta land on and near the Beltline, among other real estate big shots and small businesses.

Cathy Woolard:

Total: $835,121

This quarter: $159,602

On-hand: $$379,296

The former City Council president, like Norwood, is reeling in plenty of campaign contributions from retired people, and she’s seeing a steady stream of financial support from health care professionals, mostly metro Atlanta physicians. Woolard has also logged donations from bankers, teachers, construction professionals, social justice groups and film production companies, among other sources.

Vincent Fort:

Total: $378,286

This quarter: $129,823

On-hand: $230,908

Much of Atlanta’s Democratic state senator’s campaign cash is coming from labor unions and law firms. Fort is also reporting donations from teachers, college professors, and a few real estate developers. Plus, he’s taken checks from the Atlanta Black Star, a local online newspaper, and even from a marketing director at PepsiCo. (Gasp!)

Keisha Lance Bottoms:

Total: $664,301

This quarter: $157,365

On-hand: $385,531

The Atlanta councilwoman representing District 11 listed recent campaign contributions from construction groups, consulting firms, and a whole lotta lawyers she’s an attorney herself. Bottoms, a close friend of Mayor Reed, also has the monetary support of some bankers and realtors, as well as the National Labor Relations Board and chief operating officer of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta.

John Eaves:

Total: $137,682

This quarter: $76,814

On-hand: $55,279

The chairman of Fulton’s county commission has financial backing from a whole bunch of lawyers, real estate professionals, and consultants. Eaves’ campaign has also received money from a long list of healthcare professionals and metro Atlanta educators. Showing up late to the race, the candidate seems to have picked up fundraising speed, more than doubling his take from the last quarter.

Michael Sterling:

Total: $195,304

This quarter: $9,285

On-hand: $77,156

Sterling, surely the underdog of the nine major candidates, has surprisingly scrounged more campaign cash than Eaves, although he didn’t bring in much this quarter; most of his contributions came via “in-kind” support, meaning goods and services from strategists and lawyers supporting his bid. He’s been clearing checks from some local restaurateurs, a handful of legal pros, and a few consultancy firms, one being the New Jersey-based firm Arkady, which is helping out with “campaign support services.”

Editor’s note: This post has been revised to clarify that this is an analysis of the recent fundraising period.

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