Candidates for Smith County sheriff passed the half-million dollar mark in total funds raised since the race to replace J.B. Smith began.
During the most recent reporting cycle, between Jan. 18 and May 19, the candidates raised a combined $144,787 compared to more than $400,000 combined during the first reporting period.
Smith, 54, a former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent with 34 years law enforcement experience at the local, state and federal level, added $54,968 to his coffers. Since entering the race, Smith has raised more than $129,000. He reported around $14,000 worth of in-kind donations, mostly associated with donated items, such as guns, jewelry and other prizes, for live auctions.
Rust, 54, a businessman and captain for the Precinct 3 Constable, followed the other candidates with $3,800. He raised more than $90,000 during three reporting periods and has donated more than $63,500 to his own campaign.
With a month to go in the race, candidates say they are prepared for a major push to reach voters.
“Everything is ready to go,” he said. “From here on out it will be mostly knocking on doors and saying ‘Hi. I need your vote.’”
Garmon said he has been holding back much of his cash for a final push in May. He spent $16,463 and more than $55,000 total. Garmon has more than $27,000 remaining in his coffers, the most among the candidates. He said he was concentrating on making sure he gets the most “bang” out of campaign dollars and that his focus has been on meeting with the voting public.
“I am concentrating on being out in the public so they get to know who I am,” he said.
Smith spent almost $25,000 since January and more than $80,000 since his campaign began. He has more $25,575 on-hand.
He said he has enough money in place to make a media blitz in newspapers, and on television and radio. Smith said he will continue to block-walk to meet prospective voters.
“I’m not leaving anything behind. I’m running like I am in last place,” he said. “Until May 29, I am going to be working to reach everyone I can and to get out the vote.”
Green said his high totals reflect the community’s response to his campaign. He has around $19,000 remaining.
“It’s about everybody we have on the team to make sure the people get a fresh start that we think they want,” he said. “People believe in what we are doing.”
Green reported the same multi-media campaign blitz will be part of his May run to the finish line.
Because of a redistricting battle, the party primaries were pushed to May 29.
No Democratic candidate for sheriff announced, meaning whoever emerges from the GOP primary will become the next sheriff.
Political observers believe the race will result in a runoff because it is unlikely one candidate will emerge with 50 percent of the votes needed. A runoff date is set for July 31.