Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg has a formidable fundraising lead seven months before city voters decide whether to elect him to another term, but one of his challengers has raised a lot in a little time.
Tecklenburg raised $183,611 between January and March, according to his campaign disclosure form. He has $458,342 on hand.
Meanwhile, farther north, two Summerville mayoral hopefuls are steadily amassing war chests, while the North Charleston mayoral contest appears to be drawing few dollars to date.
Tecklenburg, who is seeking a second term, has raised and banked more money than all of this year's other tri-county mayoral hopefuls combined. He has received more than 1,000 donations.
City Councilman Gary White, who announced his candidacy last month alongside several of his current and former council colleagues, has raised $28,755 and taken out a $40,000 loan. He currently has $46,785 on hand, according to his filing.
"We’ve really only been doing fundraising for less than 30 days. It was really only about two weeks. For the amount of money we were able to raise in two weeks we feel very good," White said Thursday. "We’ve had a lot of very positive response.”
Tecklenburg's campaign finance co-chairman, Joe Griffith Jr., said the mayor's fundraising numbers "represent a powerful vote of confidence in Mayor Tecklenburg’s leadership from citizens all across Charleston."
"Just as important, they show strong resident support for the mayor’s record of action on critical city issues like flooding and drainage, traffic and transportation, affordable housing and public safety,” he added.
Three other Charleston mayoral challengers have raised far less. They are City Councilman Harry Griffin, who has raised $5,292; West Ashley property rights advocate Sheri Irwin, who contributed $525 to start her bid; and Eddie Freeman, who has raised $762 and has $358 on hand.
In Summerville, former Town Councilman Richard Waring raised $7,545 in the first quarter and has $54,716 on hand. No first quarter filing was available early Thursday for mayoral hopeful Bill Hearn, a lawyer and a Dorchester County councilman. His fourth quarter 2018 report showed him with $42,607 on hand.
Mayor Wiley Johnson has not filed any paperwork with the State Ethics Commission, which is required once a candidate raises or spends $500 on a political race here. Johnson recently said he's undecided on seeking another term. Johnson did update his 2015 mayoral race account to reflect no money raised this year but an expense of $42 in monthly bank fees. That account still has $1,805.
In North Charleston, incumbent Mayor Keith Summey reported raising $1,100 in the first quarter, and he spent $310. He began with a sizable war chest from previous races and currently has $73,209 on hand.
That's far more than any of his several challengers. John Singletary, who also ran in 2015, raised $1,550 between January and March and has $5,203 in his account, while newcomer Ashley Peele raised $2,869 and has $1,390.31 on hand.
The Rev. Thomas Dixon reported raising $15,724.49 as of April 10, including $215 of his own money. He has $6,279 on hand.
While many mayoral candidates have begun raising money, the field of hopefuls in Charleston, North Charleston and Summerville still could evolve. Official filing in those races doesn't begin until the summer. Election Day is Nov. 5.
The mayors of both Charleston and North Charleston are their city's chief executives and also lead City Council meetings. Whoever wins in November will be paid $188,722 in Charleston and $193,880 in North Charleston. The salary of Summerville's mayor, a part-time position, is $15,000.