Election 2016: District 61 incumbent raises more money than any Williamson candidates


Election 2016: District 61 incumbent raises more money than any Williamson candidates

As campaign disclosures have filed in, reports show District 61 incumbent Representative Charles Sargent raised more money than any candidate in Williamson County.

As campaign disclosures have filed in, reports show District 61 incumbent Representative Charles Sargent raised more money than any candidate in Williamson County.

The Franklin Republican raised more than $100,000 in a single filing period, which began in April and concluded in July. He will face two challengers – Steve Gawrys and Terrence Smith – on the Aug. 4 primary ballot.

Of the approximate $102,737 in campaign funds raised, $53,000 of that amount came from political action committees, with varying interests ranging from telecommunication, energy, insurance, alcohol and some automotive groups.

Some of those same PACS – Atmos Energy, Baker Donelson TN, Centurylink Employees, Comcast Corporation, Microsoft, TN Anesthesiologists, TN Dental, TN Highway Contractors, TN Grocers and Convenience, TN Wine and Spirits Retailers – also all gave money to Rep. Glen Casada, the Thompson’s Station Republican who is running against Courtenay Rogers for the House District 63 seat.

The WSWT Political Action Committee, which is Wine and Spirits Wholesalers, also gave money to both Sargent and Franklin incumbent Jeremy Durham.

“I am very pleased to have the support of hundreds of individuals and a good number of Tennessee companies who employ a lot of people and do great work in our state,” Sargent said. “This is compared to my opponent, Mr. Gawrys, who has received more than 50 percent of his funding from one organization, dedicated to a single issue, skirting the law through PAC contributions.”

Other than the PACs, Sargent received donations from Mayor Rogers Anderson and Ward Two Alderman Beverly Burger. Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schorer also chipped in for the campaign.

By the end of the quarter, Sargent had spent nearly $131,000 and is left with $227,591 on hand. The bulk of his money went toward his campaign website, campaign research and TV advertising.

“I have built my reputation on results and honesty, and my record is clear,” Sargent said. “It is an honor to know that so many agree that I have represented the district and state well and deserve another term in the General Assembly.”

Sargent’s opponent, Gawrys, has raised $15,980 this quarter. Of that amount collected in the second quarter, three different PACs contributed to his campaign totaling $7,780.

The Freedom PAC, which also gave to Durham, wrote Gawrys a $2,000 check. The TN8PAC, based out of Bells in Crockett County, gave the Republican $5,000. According to the organization’s website, the group formed in 2011 and includes Tea Party organization in the 8th U.S. Congressional District of Tennessee.

The Tennessee Seventh District Coalition gave Gawrys a $780 contribution. Gawrys contends that, overall between his first and second quarter filings, his contributions primarily come from individuals. One of the more notable contributors this quarter came from Brentwood Mayor Regina Smithson.

“The vast majority of my donors are voters,” he said. “Ninety percent of donors are voters. So the PACs that give to me are typically the organizations who share the same principals and values that I do. The only PACs I’ve taken money from are ones that pursue constitutional principles that I share.”

While he raised around $16,000, he nearly spent that same amount that he earned this quarter. His filing shows campaign work in Massachusetts, where he’s originally from. Gawrys said he tried to campaign in the Northeast, but it wasn’t a successful effort.

He will end the quarter with $15,625.

The remaining candidate in House District 61 Terrence Smith only raised $1,500, labeling himself as the contributor.

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