PAC-ing it up


STAR STAFF

  With Election Day less than one week away, local, state and federal political candidates near the end of campaigns that have involved their time and work as well as other people's money.
  In Carter County, the race generating the most heat -- and tax-deductible political contributions -- involves incumbent Jerome Cochran and challenger John Holsclaw for Cochran's 4th District seat in the state House of Representatives.
  Thursday was the deadline for local and state candidates across Tennessee to file campaign disclosure statements with the election commission office in their home county detailing political fundraising including itemized donations and spending.
  According to his financial disclosure statement submitted to the Carter County Election Commission office on Thursday, Holsclaw reported raising $9,510 in monetary contributions between the April 2 and July 26 reporting period. He reported spending $6,795 through Tuesday. More than $6,100 reported by Holsclaw came from contributors giving amounts over $100 to his campaign with the remaining $3,410 coming from non-itemized donors.
  Cochran reported receiving more than $30,900 in monetary donations and $800 in in-kind contributions, according to his disclosure statement. He reported total spending of $27,310 in his re-election campaign. Cochran started with better than $4,600 in his campaign war chest.
  As with practically every candidate vying for state office, both Cochran and Holsclaw picked up donations from several political action committees (PACs) representing public and private interests.
  PACs giving from $250 to $2,000 for Cochran's re-election campaign included BellSouth Employees of Tennessee, Friends of the Tennessee Hospital Association, Equal Opportunity in Education, Independent Medicine, Tennessee Health Care Association, and Sprint Telecom.
  Cochran's biggest donations came from the Tennessee Conservative PAC with a $5,000 donation and aggregate donations of $5,000 a piece from the Lawyers Involved for Tennessee and the State of Franklin committees.
  The Tennessee Education Association's PAC, the Tennessee Bankers Association PAC, and Tennessee State Employees PAC each donated $500 to Holsclaw. Apparently covering the local political market's possible volatility, the Bankers PAC also kicked in $750 to Cochran's campaign.
  The WSWT PAC, the Tennessee Dental PAC, and Coca-Cola Enterprises Employees PAC each donated $300 to Holsclaw's campaign.
  Individual contributors of $500 to Holsclaw included Brenda Kincead of Piney Flats, and Kenneth Brumit, Larry Proffitt, and Kenneth B. Carter all of Elizabethton. Other individual contributors include C.C. Marshall ($300) and Bill Breeding ($200) both of Johnson City, and Danny Herman ($250) of Mountain City.
  Several contributors to both candidates were notable for their status in the area business community.
  Road construction potentate R.T. "Rab" Summers, owner of Summers-Taylor, chipped in $250 to Holsclaw's campaign as did Carter County Bank President Bill Green. W.G. Tittle of Tittle Construction Company in Johnson City anted up $200 while B.K. Mount, owner of the Maymead paving company in Mountain City, donated $500 to Holsclaw. Citizens Bank President Joe LaPorte donated $500 to the Cochran campaign.
  A fellow upstate Republican with conservative leanings, Rep. David Davis of the 5th District donated $200 to Cochran. Five campaign organizations of Republican candidates running in the state primary also made contributions ranging from $250 to $1,000 to the Cochran campaign.
  Cochran defeated Ralph Cole two years ago in the GOP primary. He went on to win the general election held in November 2002. Holsclaw served as the county's tax assessor for 27 years until announcing his retirement in February of 2003.
  (Editor's note: A complete list of contributors to both the Cochran and Holsclaw campaigns will be published in Sunday's edition of the Star.)