Matt Hullander uses $50,000 of own money to finance Hamilton County mayoral campaign

Candidate promised not to self-fund

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Hamilton County Mayoral candidate Matt Hullander shared his vision for the county, from the steps of the courthouse on December 1, 2021.

Hamilton County mayoral candidate Matt Hullander is using $50,000 of his own money to fund his campaign despite previously saying he would not do so.

Hullander promised voters from the earliest days of his campaign that he would not use his own money in the effort.

"We haven't put the first cent of our own money into this effort and don't plan to do so," he said in a news release on Nov. 29.

Hullander's campaign reported collecting nearly $256,000 between July and mid-January, according to his Monday campaign finance report.

"As we saw the donations coming in, we were humbled by the sheer volume of donations and commitment being made by people - many we've never met," Hullander said in a Monday evening statement. "We decided to join them in investing as well. It shows our commitment to the people we hope will entrust us with their vote on May 3."

(READ MORE: Hullander says he won't use own money in run for Hamilton County mayor)

Hullander's donations came from business executives and individuals alike. He received the maximum donation amount, $1,600, from individuals such as Jason Farmer, owner of Riverstone Construction.

His total expenditures were more than $47,700, leaving him with $208,000 cash on hand.

Weston Wamp, also a Republican candidate, throughout the campaign has said he will hold Hullander to his word about not self-funding.

In a Monday evening statement, he said he was disappointed in Hullander for not following through with his promise.

"Matt has the right to spend his own money to get elected, as does [a third Republican candidate, Hamilton County Commission chair Sabrena Smedley]," Wamp said. "But it is always always disappointing to see politicians say one thing and then do another."

Wamp reported raising $232,000 without using any of his own money.

When counting only donated funds, as opposed to self-funding, Wamp raised the most out of anyone in the race.

(READ MORE: Hullander, Wamp lay out visions in Hamilton County mayor race)

Wamp received maximum donations from multiple business owners such as Steve Cox, president of Steam Logistics.

He also received maximum donations from multiple family members, including his sister, Coty Wamp, who serves as legal counsel for the sheriff's office and is running for district attorney.

Wamp's reported expenditures totaled $18,000, leaving him with $214,000 cash on hand, the most of any candidate.

Smedley loaned $55,000 of her own money to her campaign. In addition, about $41,000 came from her county commissioner campaign account.

The campaign in total raised $202,000.

She received maximum donations from family members and businesses such as Chattanooga-based Map Engineers.

Smedley during a Tuesday phone interview declined to comment on self-funding and Hullander changing his stance.

"I'm very excited that we have such a ton of support," Smedley said. "We had a grand opening of our campaign headquarters last night. There was such high energy and enthusiasm in the room. Everyone was excited about the turnout."

(READ MORE: Hamilton County mayoral candidates to participate in first debate)

Smedley reported spending $450, leaving her with $201,800 case on hand.

Contact Logan Hullinger at lhullinger@timesfreepress.com or 814-319-5158. Follow him on Twitter @LoganHullinger.