Haley courts caucus


MOUNT PLEASANT -- Dollarwise, the winners of the race for four Town Council seats already can be declared.

Nick Collins, Christopher Nickels, Ken Glasson and Mark Smith are the most prolific fundraisers among the nine candidates.

On Tuesday, voters will decide who prevails at the polls.

Collins drummed up $18,265 in donations, followed by Nickels at $16,460. Glasson received $15,300 from supporters and Smith garnered $11,765, according to the State Ethics Commission.

Candidates are required to report campaign funds received and how they are spent.

Collins, an incumbent, said his campaign has drummed up so much financial support because of the time he has invested in cultivating supporters.

"I've been working harder this time than the last election. I just hope it will work," he said.

Donations do not influence his decisions on council, he said, because projects rise or fall based on their merits.

Nickels said the numbers are a little misleading in his case because about $4,000 is money carried over from his first campaign for council two years ago.

"I don't think anyone has had more individual donors than I have, and I'm very appreciative of it," he said.

Another factor in this election, in addition to dollars, is endorsements. Mayor Billy Swails has backed the campaigns of Collins, Glasson and Thomasena Stokes-Marshall.

"I absolutely support them," he said Friday.

Swails hosted a meet-and-greet for the trio of incumbents at his home in October. He has donated $1,000, the maximum allowed, to each of them.

"These are hard-working council members. I know them, I trust them. They are like family," Swails said.

Next in campaign donations is political newcomer Chris O'Neal, who raised $8,741, according to the online reports.

Stokes-Marshall reported $7,890 in contributions.

Candidate Joe Bustos seeks to return to council after an unsuccessful but competitive bid for mayor. He raised $5,200 in donations, the documents state.

George Freeman reported $358 in campaign contributions. Candidate W. Tate Mikell did not list any contributors.

In addition to Swails, the biggest campaign contributors included Tex Small of Greenville, developer of The Market at Oakland. He donated $1,000 each to Glasson, Stokes-Marshall and Collins.

Collins and Glasson both expressed their gratitude for Swails' support.

"It's pretty humbling," Glasson said. "I don't want to take it for granted. I think you need to go out and work just as hard," he said.

Collins said Friday that he had received an additional $2,000 in the past few days on top of what has been reported so far to the Ethics Commission, which brings his unofficial total campaign donations to a little over $20,000.

"I've got a lot of good support," he said.

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