Bench-seekers raise over 100K

Published 2:55 pm Thursday, May 6, 2010

Staff Writer

Editor’s note: This is the sixth installment in an occasional series on campaign finance.
Four judicial candidates raised more than $103,000 collectively in the push to secure a District Court nomination.
The four candidates were Darrell Cayton Jr., Watsi Sutton, Jonathan Jones and Sonia Privette.
This contest was in the 2nd Judicial District, which encompasses Hyde, Tyrrell, Martin, Beaufort and Washington counties.
“It costs money to get your message out within a large geographical area,” Privette told the Washington Daily News late last month. “And when you’re talking five counties, what are those means? TV, newspapers, some radio, as well as other things like mailings and personal appearances.”
In Tuesday’s primary, Cayton and Sutton finished first and second, respectively, and each advances to the Nov. 2 general election.
One of these two office-seekers will be the victor in November.
Cayton was the undisputed fundraising leader. He listed total receipts of $48,100, according to reports available online at the State Board of Elections’ Web site.
Cayton made two loans, totaling $29,000, to his campaign committee.
The first loan, dated March 8, was for $25,000, while the second loan, dated April 6, was for $4,000.
A substantial amount of Cayton’s money came from individuals, including local attorneys such as Debbie Gaskins, who gave $1,000.
Cayton spent in excess of $46,000 on professional media services, including signs, mailed-out advertisements and other ads.
His committee had $219.68 cash on hand as of April 26.
Privette was second in fundraising, with receipts of more than $31,000.
The candidate put $16,950 of her own money into the race during the past reporting period, the records indicate.
Privette bought air time on WITN-TV, and spent money on Web design and hosting, banners, cards, yard signs and radio ads.
Though Sutton was third in fundraising, she finished second in vote totals, just 120 votes behind Cayton.
Cayton captured 4,239 votes to Sutton’s 4,119 votes, according to the unofficial totals.
The vote totals are unofficial until canvassed by the Beaufort County Board of Elections and the boards of elections in the other four counties in the 2nd Judicial District.
“As you know, we came in 100 votes behind, and we were tremendously outspent,” Sutton told the Daily News on Tuesday night.
Sutton listed $11,242.19 in contributions from individuals.
It appeared that Sutton’s largest single contribution came from the Rev. David L. Moore, pastor of Metropolitan AME Zion Church in Washington and a former Beaufort County commissioner.
The vast majority of Sutton’s contributions came in the form of cash and amounted to less than $50 per contribution. Many of her individual cash amounts were as small as $7.
Sutton spent money on things like Web-site design and hosting and food for campaign events, but her biggest expense was a $1,094 filing fee required of all four judicial candidates.
Though Jones was fourth in fundraising, he placed third in vote totals.
Jones reported total receipts of about $12,000, and total expenses of just over $11,000.
Jones tallied 3,683 votes to Privette’s 3,428.
Community Editor Greg Katski contributed to this story.
The following amounts were raised by District Court candidates in the 2nd Judicial District before the primary election:
• Darrell Cayton Jr.: $48,100*
• Sonia Privette: $31,560*
• Jonathan Jones: $12,105*
• Watsi Sutton: $11,469.87*
Total raised by all four candidates: $103,234.87
* These amounts are total receipts for the primary election cycle, and may include loans, in-kind contributions and contributions from individuals.
Source: Campaign reports available online on the N.C. State Board of Elections’ Web site.