Jacobs leads 2012 fundraising; Beasley preps for 2013 race

Jan. 18, 2013 @ 06:51 PM

County Commissioner Wendy Jacobs led her five competitors in 2012 when it came to campaign fundraising, collecting $39,197 on her way to winning her first term in office.

Reports to the county Board of Elections show that Jacobs’ receipts nearly doubled those of the second-leading fundraiser, incumbent Ellen Reckhow, who told the board she raised $20,892.

Unaffiliated petition candidate Omar Beasley was close behind Reckhow, banking $17,458. Incumbent Brenda Howerton followed with $12,158, challenger Fred Foster took in $10,464 and incumbent Commissioner Michael Page banked just $6,367.

Jacobs, Reckhow, Howerton, Foster and Page were the Democratic Party nominees for commissioner and as a group won handily, fending off Beasley’s challenge after the votes were counted in November.

Beasley’s campaign ended 2012 with $1,321 still in the bank, a surplus that could come in handy as the bail bondsman prepares for his next move in local politics. He confirmed Friday that he intends to run for a City Council seat this fall.

The nonpartisan council’s three ward seats are up this year, and Beasley would be targeting the Ward 2 seat now held by ailing councilman Howard Clement.

He said he would reevaluate his plans if Clement opts to seek re-election, but otherwise is “definite” on entering the race.

“I’ve been here for 24 years and my time here has been spent helping the citizens of Durham,” Beasley said. “I want to continue to serve, but in a greater capacity.”

Also pondering a Ward 2 bid is community activist Victoria Peterson, who passed up the 2012 commissioners race after running for a seat on the county board in 2008.

“I have not committed to run for City Council,” Peterson said on Friday. “I am thinking about it, yes.”

The race for the Ward 3 council seat formerly held by state Sen. Mike Woodard appears likely to draw a crowd.

Woodard’s appointed replacement, Councilman Don Moffitt, has said he intends to run. Downtown Durham Inc. President Bill Kalkhof has made no secret of his political ambitions and is also preparing a campaign.

And on Friday, former commissioners candidate and would-be Ward 3 appointee Anita Daniels began sounding out county elections staffers on what she’d need to do to get into the fall’s Ward 3 race.

The 2012 commissioners finance reports showed that all six county candidates employed paid poll workers, the campaigns’ only real departure from recent practice as they focused on reaching early voters.

Beasley’s fourth-quarter report listed payments to 16 different poll workers that cost him $6,270. Howerton and Page contributed $1,300 to his campaign explicitly so his poll workers would promote them too.

Foster, Jacobs and Reckhow spent a combined $2,740 on poll workers late in the race. They appeared also to pool their resources, but unlike the Beasley/Howerton/Page grouping didn’t do so by transferring money between campaigns.

Reckhow’s and Howerton’s campaigns ran small deficits of $2,455 and $1,500, respectively, covered with money they’d collected in previous years. Foster’s campaign also ended up $61 in the red.

Jacobs had $2,734 left at the end of the year and Page $1,096.

Durham’s big-three political groups supplemented the local campaigns and their state and national counterparts.

Reports to the State Board of Elections showed the People’s Alliance raised $82,134 and spent $79,263 on the 2012 campaign. The Friends of Durham raised $4,987 on the year and spent $6,000.

The state board as of Friday hadn’t posted a fourth-quarter report from Durham’s other big-three group, the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People.