Stavrinakis tops mayoral fundraising State lawmaker has collected over $300K

State Rep. Leon Stavrinakis

State Rep. Leon Stavrinakis has raised more money than any other Charleston mayoral candidate who has reported so far, despite entering the race only two months ago.

Stavrinakis raised $310,103 in the first quarter of 2015, his first in the race, according to his financial report with the South Carolina Ethics Commission. He announced his candidacy Feb. 2. In a prepared release, Stavrinakis attributed his fundraising success to his campaign’s central message. “People are looking for a hands-on mayor who will focus on delivering the best services, solutions for our traffic issues, good roads and safe streets,” he stated.

Ginny Deerin, the only woman in the non-partisan race, owns a small business and is a community leader who also ran Mayor Joe Riley’s last campaign. She raised $217,802 last quarter, her first in the race.

Deerin in a prepared statement said, “I’ve spent the last 40 years getting things done for Charleston, founded and ran a multimillion dollar nonprofit, and started my own small business. It’s my personal investment in our city and real management chops that’s leading voters to back my vision for making Charleston an even greater city.”

Businessman John Tecklenburg raised $133,070, $84,732 less than Deerin, in the first quarter. But Tecklenburg has raised $266,766 during this election cycle, about $49,000 more than Deerin.

His campaign manager, Joseph Tecklenburg, in a prepared statement said John Tecklenburg has not run for public office in the past. “The results (of fundraising) prove that a business person with a strong vision for making Charleston not just the Number One tourist destination in America, but also the Number One place to live and work and raise a family could compete and win in a crowded field of candidates who have run for office in the past.”

Former Charleston City Councilman Paul Tinkler, who is a lawyer, brought in $164,370 this quarter, of which $100,000 is a loan. In the entire election cycle so far, Tinkler has raised $208,135.

Tinkler said he’s satisfied with the amount he has raised so far. “I just started and I have a full-time job,” he said. And, he added, all of his fundraising efforts have been local.

Tinkler’s campaign slogan is “building on the best,” referring to continuing Riley’s remarkable work, he said.

“Our downtown is a smashing success,” Tinkler said. “It’s so successful it must be managed properly.” But, he said, “the rest of the city needs some attention.”

Charleston City Councilman William Dudley Gregorie hadn’t yet filed a report as of Friday afternoon and could not be reached for comment. Reports were due March 31, but there is a 10-day grace periods which ended at 11:59 p.m. Friday.

Mayor Joe Riley is not seeking re-election for the office he has held since 1975. The election to replace him will be Nov. 3, with a Nov. 17 runoff likely. Filing for the seat doesn’t begin until August.

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.