By Robbie Ward/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Democratic mayoral candidate Jason Shelton has started in the lead by reporting $56,421 in campaign contributions, more than $22,000 than his Republican opponent.
Shelton, 36, an attorney, reported having $40,370 on hand after paying expenses from Jan. 1 to Saturday, the first campaign finance period for this year. Among Shelton’s campaign contributions, just under half of it came from himself and family members. His other top contributors included businessman Mitchell Scruggs, the Plantersville Medical Clinic, attorney J. Greg Brown, dentist Richard Heard and accountant Shane Aguirre.
Candidates throughout the state in municipal elections this year were required by state law to file the campaign finance reports, and candidates must disclose contributions of more than $200.
The Republican candidate for mayor, Fred Pitts, 70, businessman and current Ward 2 councilman, reported raising $34,570 during this period and having $14,887 on hand after paying expenses.
Among Pitts’ top contributors, he received support from Dr. Kevin Hitt, Margaret Ann Kenneddy, construction company owner Colin Maloney, retiree Norman Bowen, and the political action committee Linder for Congress. He also received money from former Tupelo mayors Larry Otis and Glenn McCullough Jr. and Major Thoroughfare Program chairman Greg Pirkle.
In City Council races, Ward 2 candidate Lynn Bryan raised the most with $5,150, while his opponent, Tom Carr, raised the among least with $20 in contributions.
In Ward 1, Republican incumbent Markel Whittington raised $3,450, compared to $1,800 reported by his primary opponent, Daniel Owens.
Incumbent James “Jim” Newell of Ward 3 reported raising $2,710, nearly identical to his Republican primary opponent Liz Dawson.
The only candidate in Ward 4 who filed a campaign finance report, Democrat James Matkin reported raising $528. Also Democrats, incumbent Nettie Davis and challenger Mark Hardin did not file reports.
Republican Buddy Palmer of Ward 5 reported contributions totaling $1,000, while incumbent Jonny Davis didn’t file.
In Ward 6 with all Republicans, incumbent Mike Bryan reported $3,225 in contributions, while challengers Tom Hewitt had $1,288, Wayne Chrestman had $722 and James “Mickey” Jenkins reported no contributions.
Incumbent Democrat Willie Jennings, who has no primary or general election opponent, reported no contributions.