‘The One’ tops fundraisers

Published 12:44 am Friday, October 21, 2011

Only “The One” Washington City Council candidate had raised more than $1,000 for his campaign as of Thursday.

Rick Gagliano, whose campaign slogan is “The One,” listed total receipts of $1,376.59 for his campaign committee, according to public records.

His latest report, dated Oct. 3, showed an ending balance of $1,319.65.

Gagliano’s wife, Linda Gagliano, lent the committee $500, and the office-seeker’s treasurer, John W. Lacava, lent the organization $50.

Gagliano carried over $61.59 from his previous campaign account, which he opened when he ran unsuccessfully for Washington mayor two years ago.

The committee also recorded $230 in aggregate, individual contributions of $50 or less each through early this month.

His committee’s outlays include $100 for campaign buttons and $200 for campaign cards.

He has engaged AdMIX, a local advertising agency, to help promote his candidacy.

“After being severely beaten in the mayoral race two years ago, I decided to get serious,” Gagliano said. “I’m walking with my wife house to house in the city of Washington and meeting people. We’re very serious about this.”

From mid-August through the first week of October, Gagliano gave $200 to Vote Washington City Council, a political action committee that is working to elect him, fellow challenger Lloyd May and incumbent Councilman Doug Mercer.

May and Mercer contributed $200 apiece to the PAC on Sept. 26.

Lacava also serves as treasurer of this PAC.

As of Oct. 3, the PAC reported $750 in contributions from individuals so far this election cycle. It had operating expenditures of $150 — for the purchase of an Internet domain name — and ended up with $600 cash on hand as of the date on the report.

Political action committees are not covered by the $1,000 threshold rule and must provide detailed finance reports, explained Kellie Harris Hopkins, Beaufort County’s elections director.

None of the other seven council candidates had met the $1,000 fundraising limit that triggers a requirement to file detailed campaign-finance reports with the local board of elections.

State campaign-finance law doesn’t require these candidates to disclose fundraising particulars if they stay below the $1,000 mark, Hopkins confirmed.

The five incumbent council candidates are Mercer, Gil Davis, Ed Moultrie, Bobby Roberson, and William Pitt.

The incumbents are being challenged by Gagliano, May and former Councilman Richard Brooks.

Mayor Archie Jennings is unopposed in his re-election effort.

This year’s campaign fundraising doesn’t rival the contribution figures posted ahead of the Washington city elections in 2009.

In a three-way race with Gagliano, then-Councilman Jennings turned in more than $5,700 in total receipts, with the second-place finisher, incumbent Mayor Judy Meier Jennette, taking in more than $4,300.

Political observers have noted the mayor is unchallenged this time around, which makes the upcoming election less a draw to voters. Hopkins doesn’t disagree with that assessment.

“I just think there’s a general apathy for anything political right now,” she said.

On Thursday, Davis, the incumbent councilman, was one of the first 25 people in Beaufort County to take advantage of one-stop voting, ahead of the Nov. 8 municipal elections, at the Board of Elections’ offices in Washington.

Asked why voter interest seems to be at a low ebb, he pointed to a troubled economy that has sidelined people’s interests, and the absence of big-ticket races on the ballot.

“It’s basically very few races going on,” Davis commented. “The public is not as interested as they would normally be.”