Twice the votes and twice the money — Smyrna mayoral candidate Derek Norton is doubling down on his lead over rival Ryan Campbell, less than a month out from the Dec. 3 special election runoff.
Tuesday’s vote saw Norton secure 47.1% of all 7,907 ballots, or 3,724 votes, cast Election Day by those living in the Smyrna city limits.
Campbell is down in the preliminary results, due to be confirmed after provisional ballot papers are counted Tuesday, by 1,767 votes, indicating he has to almost double his support to be on a level playing field with Norton heading into the runoff.
The two candidates’ latest campaign finance reports, filed with the Smyrna city clerk on Nov. 1, show Norton is also running a $110,000 race, compared to Campbell’s $42,000 bid.
Despite the $68,000 and 1,700 votes separating them, both Norton and Campbell are confident they’ll start 2020 as Smyrna’s new mayor.
Their October campaign finance reports show Norton had spent $46,000 more than Campbell on their respective mayoral campaigns as of the start of November.
Norton had $4,515 donated to his campaign by 22 people in October, and a further $5,300 contributed by five companies and one political fund.
He received $1,500 from Smyrna company Aaa C-Store LLC, $1,000 each from Atlanta business W Funding Group LLC and communications network AT&T Georgia, $800 from the Barrow Body Shop automotive repair business in Smyrna, and $500 each from Michael’s Clothing in Smyrna and the 21st Century Majority Fund.
Of note among the individuals contributing to Norton’s campaign in October was Smyrna retiree Michael Terry, who served on the Cobb County Planning and Zoning Commission as Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott’s District 2 appointee between January 2009 and April 2018, including as commission chairman.
Terry gave Norton $100 on Oct. 5, documents show.
Norton started the October reporting period with $100,215 in total contributions and having already spent $56,232 on his campaign.
In October, he spent a further $27,891 on campaign signs, consulting, advertising, mailers, events, stamps, stationery, promotions and sponsorship.
Among his campaign consultants, whom he spent $4,000 on in October, is Triana Arnold James, a former beauty queen and candidate for Georgia lieutenant governor who Norton paid $1,500 on Oct. 1.
Norton’s financial disclosures show he has not taken out any loans for his campaign, and has no debt or investment associated with the mayoral race.
Campbell, on the other hand, has taken out a $20,000 loan for his campaign, which he’d spent almost $40,000 on by the start of November.
In addition to his loan, Campbell has received around $22,000 in campaign contributions, including $6,200 in October.
Much of that money came from personal donations ranging between $100 and $1,000 from Cobb residents and a few supporters further afield in North Carolina, Mississippi and New Jersey.
Campbell’s campaign expenses in October totaled $16,110 and included almost $4,000 on printing, $8,650 on media consulting, just under $1,000 on events and about $1,800 on advertising.
He started the November campaign reporting period with a little over $4,000 on hand, significantly less than Norton’s $25,900 in unspent contributions.
Smyrna City Clerk Terri Graham said the candidates’ November financial reports are due on Nov. 27, six days before the runoff, but are subject to a two-day grace period.