published Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Disclosures show finances of Hamilton County campaigns

  • Jim Coppinger political ad
    County Mayor Jim Coppinger political ad.

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger is now appearing solo on the airwaves and cable in his first-ever campaign ads.

The $104,000 ad buy helped drain about half of the $200,000-plus he's raised since embarking last fall on his quest to defend his interim appointment as county mayor. The ads will "be running up until election day in three weeks," Coppinger said Tuesday.

Though the ads appeared Monday on the four local television affiliates and cable, the expenditure appeared in disclosures filed to the Hamilton County Election Commission by Tuesday's deadline. Coppinger, a Republican, and Chattanooga mayor hopeful Andy Berke raked in the most cash this quarter -- Coppinger with $95,642 and Berke with $272,050, according to the forms.

Berke, a Democrat who now represents Tennessee's Senate District 10, won't face opposition for mayor until next March's city elections.

One Coppinger opponent, independent Richard Ford, also disclosed his tally Tuesday. Though Ford raised no money in the second quarter, his early commitment was to limit his fundraising if not avoid it altogether.

Democrat Richard "Rick" Wilson said last week that he would not be filing his disclosures for a few weeks based on advice he received from Hamilton County Election Commission officials.

Elections Administrator Charlotte Mullis-Morgan said Monday that the only candidates with quarterly disclosures due Tuesday were those who ran in the March 6 primary, including county mayor, assessor of property and County Commission District 3.

Both County Commission District 3 candidates filed Tuesday. Democrat Mitzi Yates raised $600 and Republican Marty Haynes took in $1,750, according to the filings. Haynes was set to hold a fundraiser Tuesday night at Stuart Heights Baptist Church.

Current Interim County District 3 Commissioner Mitch McClure, who lost in the March GOP primary, also filed a second quarter report, which showed that he contributed the remainder of his campaign account to the church he pastors, Middle Valley Church of God.

In the assessor of property's race, Democrat Jelena Butler brought in $4,694 and Republican Bill Bennett raised $14,895. Independent Conrad Taylor is not fundraising.


Race/Candidate — Previous balance — Quarterly contributions — Expenditures


• Bill Bennett — $34,612.96 — $14,895 — $22,227.06

• Jelena Butler — $4,694.01 — $4,761.35 — $3,811.76

• Conrad Taylor — $0 — $0 — $0


• Marty Haynes — $1,483.66 — $1,750 — $1,898.60

• Mitch McClure (lost in March primary) — $1,476.77 — $0 — $1,476.77

• Mitzi Yates — $368.70 — $600 — $635.73


• Jim Coppinger — $94,592.64 — $95,642 — $137,825.96

• Richard Ford — $0 — $0 — $0

• Richard "Rick" Wilson — $44,001.90 — N/A — N/A


• Andy Berke — $0 — $271,050 — $8,524.43



• Katherine Benefield — $0 — $820 — $790

• Rhonda Thurman — $0 — $2,202 — $1,984.57


• Mike Harvey (write-in) — $0 — $3,880 — $2,312.95

• Jonathan Welch — N/A — N/A — N/A


• Donna Horn — $0 — $0 — $1,040.35

• Ralph Miller — $400 — $2,453.24 — $1,722.12

* Not all candidates filed disclosures by Tuesday and some submitted numbers who weren't required to.

Source: Hamilton County Election Commission

about Ansley Haman...

Ansley Haman covers Hamilton County government. A native of Spring City, Tenn., she grew up reading the Chattanooga Times and Chattanooga Free Press, which sparked her passion for journalism. Ansley's happy to be home after a decade of adventures in more than 20 countries and 40 states. She gathered stories while living, working and studying in Swansea, Wales, Cape Town, South Africa, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Knoxville, Tenn. Along the way, she interned for ...

about Kevin Hardy...

Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...

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