published Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Scottie Mayfield lends $150,000 to his campaign


by Chris Carroll
From left, Weston Wamp, Scottie Mayfield, Chuck Fleischmann
From left, Weston Wamp, Scottie Mayfield, Chuck Fleischmann

Republican Scottie Mayfield lent his congressional bid $150,000 earlier this month, and he'll be able to increase that amount if necessary, according to personal financial disclosures filed with the government.

It was the first significant loan of this year's barnburner of a 3rd Congressional District race, and disclosures indicate the Athens, Tenn., dairy executive's campaign may have had to scale back without it.

Disregarding the $150,000 he lent his campaign July 6, records show Mayfield would have been operating a week later with about $19,000 in campaign cash.

That's about how much the Mayfield campaign spent on polling last quarter -- $22,000 -- and a paltry amount compared to the overall war chests for U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and another well-financed Republican candidate, Weston Wamp.

Including the $150,000 infusion, Mayfield's campaign reported $169,751 in available cash on hand to Fleischmann's $399,309 and Wamp's $191,181 as of July 13 -- just two weeks before the pivotal Aug. 2 GOP primaries.

But the race is far from over, and Mayfield's advisers rebuffed any suggestion of financial duress. With minimum assets of $3 million and maximum holdings of $12 million, Mayfield is the wealthiest candidate in the race, according to personal disclosures filed in May.

Plus, Mayfield campaign consultant Tommy Hopper said, Fleischmann and Wamp haven't bought advertising for the final week of the campaign. A representative for Wamp said that was true, while a Fleischmann spokesman declined to comment.

"You'll find that by placing [ads] early, we saved a substantial amount of money and got better ad placement," Hopper said. "That's the kind of leadership Scottie Mayfield will bring to Washington -- do more with less."

Fleischmann and Wamp haven't lent their campaigns any money for this election cycle, but the congressman gave more than $600,000 to his successful 2010 race, and some of that money carried over to this campaign.

On Twitter, Wamp criticized Mayfield for being "another self-funder" like Fleischmann.

"[Mayfield] campaign runs completely out of money," Wamp wrote. "Mr. Mayfield loans it $150k. Sounds like Washington spending."

Hopper declined to address Wamp's jab, but campaign finance chairman Paul Brock said Mayfield realized it would be difficult to replicate the record-breaking $450,648 he raised in his first seven weeks in the race.

"There was a lot of low-hanging fruit" at first, Brock said. "To run the campaign he felt he wanted to run, Scottie decided to self-fund at this point."

The race's seven candidates had until midnight Sunday to file updated fundraising totals, but only Fleischmann, Mayfield and Wamp had done so by press time.

Personal wealth

Federal law requires U.S. representatives, senators and their electoral opponents to disclose personal assets, investments and liabilities. But they only have to report their holdings within wide ranges, preventing the public from knowing exact values.

It's unclear how much of Mayfield's property, stocks, bonds and other holdings -- ranging from Apple stock to farm equipment to various bank accounts -- are liquid. His largest asset is what appears to be family farmland in Athens, valued between $1 million and $5 million. His annual liabilities are two lines of credit ranging from $510,002 to $1 million, records show.

Next wealthiest is Fleischmann, who reported between $1.7 million and $3.6 million in assets -- little to no change between this year and last year. He listed as a liability his son's law school student loan between $10,001 and $15,000.

Third on the list is Democrat Mary Headrick, a physician from Maynardville who reported between $1.2 million and $2.7 million in assets. She designated her son's student loan as a liability between $15,0001 and $50,000, according to her disclosure.

Bill Taylor, the other Democrat in the race, reported between $315,003 and $650,000 in assets, but similar amounts in "business loan" liabilities, records show. Wamp reported between $16,002 and $65,000 in assets with no liabilities, according to his disclosure.

Republican Ron Bhalla and independent candidate Matthew Deniston have not filed personal financial disclosures.

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