The only Democrat in the partisan race for Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott’s District 2 seat is leading financially, based on the latest campaign contribution reports filed with the county.
Ott, a Republican, is not seeking reelection for a fourth term in the role, instead leaving office to focus more on his private job as a Delta pilot.
Democrat Jerica Richardson and Republicans Fitz Johnson, Kevin Nicholas, Shane Deyo and Andrew Smith filed reports with the county declaring their candidacy in the race.
All but Deyo qualified this week. The primary is on May 19 and the general election on Nov. 3.
Campaign disclosure reports filed by the candidates at the end of January showed their finances in the race up until that point.
Richardson, an Equifax employee who has managed several political campaigns, had raised just over $32,200 and spent almost $11,000, leaving around $21,300 on hand. Her highest donation in the latest election reporting period was $1,500 from the Barnes Law Group.
Richardson has also been campaigning in the race the longest, formally declaring her intent to collect contributions in June 2019, months ahead of her rivals.
Among the Republican challengers, only Johnson, CEO of a prison health care company, had raised any money by the start of February, although it came from his personal account.
Johnson’s contributions totaled $500, which was the donation he reported giving himself, listing it as cash on hand, having made no expenditures in his campaign at the time.
Both Deyo, a business owner and software consultant, and Nicholas, a marketing executive and board member of the Development Authority of Cobb County, filed campaign reports declaring no contributions, expenditures or cash on hand.
Smith, Ott’s appointment to the county’s Planning Commission, had filed only a declaration of intent to accept campaign contributions in the race.
Although Ott announced in mid-January he would not seek reelection, he too filed his latest campaign disclosure report at the start of February, showing he had just over $77,600 on hand.
Ott received contributions totaling $88,583 and spent almost $11,000, per the report.
Ott told the MDJ he has already started giving the money back to those who donated it over the last few years.
“There’s a couple of different things that can be done,” Ott said in reference to campaign contributions that are left over when a candidate leaves office.
Money can be given back to contributors, donated to another candidate’s campaign, or transferred to charities, Ott said.
“It’s not my money,” he said. “It was given to me to run for office and I feel like I should give it back, and I’ve actually already started that. I just have to write a lot of checks.”
Ott said he is not endorsing anyone in the race, at least for the primary.
District 2 encompasses most of east Cobb and includes Cumberland, Vinings, Smyrna, the Mabry Park area and the Terrell Mill/Powers Ferry area. It has been under Ott’s representation since he was first elected to the role in 2008.