published Friday, July 18th, 2014

Disclosures spark criticism in Tennessee state House District 22 race

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. — J. Adam Lowe, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the state House District 22 seat, is criticizing the source of contributions to his opponent in the Aug. 7 primary, Dan Howell.

Second-quarter campaign finance reports released last week showed Lowe taking a 5-to-1 lead in itemized contributions and Howell taking out a significant loan.

Lowe criticized Howell's single largest contribution, comprising two $1,500 donations from Bruce and Wanda Anderson of Port Ludlow, Wash. The Andersons are denturists, who provide dentures and other dental appliances direct to the public. Wanda Anderson is executive director of the National Denturist Association.

"Denturists provide medical services without medical licenses, and they are not currently allowed under current Tennessee law," Lowe said. "If that law changes, people could just go to a strip mall and have the procedure done without the benefits of an actual dentist."

Howell dismissed Lowe's criticisms, stating that the couple are dear friends from Cleveland, Tenn., whom he has known for decades. He added that he didn't understand why his opponent attacked him.

Of his own fundraising, Howell said, "I am humbled by the responses I've received from friends across the county."

Howell recently served as executive assistant to Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis and also has served on the Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee.

Lowe was elected to the Bradley County Commission in 2010 and is now its vice chairman.

Prior to the recent round of financial disclosures, the two candidates primarily differentiated themselves through their experiences during a debate in June.

Financial reports this week showed Howell began the quarter with a $14,777 balance and received $1,600 from nine contributors. He took out a $6,700 loan, boosting his total loan debt to $10,600.

After $14,051 in expenditures, his campaign had an ending balance of $9,026.

The list of contributors includes Cleveland businessman Forrest Preston, founder of Life Care Centers of America, as well as Polk County Republicans Ron O'Neal and James Woody. O'Neal serves on the county's election board, and Woody is a county commissioner in District 1.

"My campaign is well-funded and I've been blessed with the support of people who are as close as family," Howell said.

Lowe began the period with a $7,821 balance and received $8,050 from 15 contributors.

He said his $1,100 in unitemized contributions -- donations of less than $50 -- is very important.

"The little old lady who believes in me enough to give me $5 means a lot to me," he said.

After $10,883 in expenditures, Lowe's campaign had an ending balance of $4,988.

Lowe has received contributions from a number of Bradley County public officials, including Cleveland City Councilman Dale Hughes, Bradley County Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones and Bradley County school board member Charlie Rose.

Brenda Lawson, CEO of Brenda Lawson & Associates, and developer Robert Renner also contributed to Lowe's campaign.

The winner of the Republican primary will not face a Democratic challenger in the November general election.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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