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Mayor Carlton Stevens beat incumbent Bruce Rose at the polls and at the bank, according to the campaign finance reports.
Rose said he raised roughly $13,000 in his bid for a ninth term while Stevens’ campaign cost $19,972, according to his September report. The 84-year-old politician’s most recent report is from September and it reported $1,000 contributions from John Larson, John Lee and Seth Wooten.
“They are all good friends of mine, but John Lee has a whole lot of business here in Wilson with Lee Motor Co.,” Rose said. “That is why he donated to me and I’ve always bought my cars from him.”
As of the Sept. 24 report, Rose also reported contributions ranging of $100 to $500 from Johnson Bissette, Bill Blackman, David Evans, William Jones, Frankie Kidd, Billy Lamb, Betty McCain and Christopher Wooten.
“If you are running for office and I give you $50 today, that contribution would go into the aggregated list of contributions,” said Wilson County Elections Director Rená Morris. “But say next month, I gave you $50 more, I’d be over the threshold and you’d have to report my name and address.”
Stevens said the bulk of his contributors gave less than $50 each. However, he didn’t get his all of the required forms in to the county until Thursday.
“I knew campaign finance was turned in, but making sure it is complete is my job, so I’m working with them to make sure all the reports and paperwork is done completely,” Stevens said Wednesday. “Anything outstanding will be rectified immediately.”
On Oct. 1, his staff turned in a report detailing $11,382.63 in contributions, including $6,580 that were less than $50 each and $4,802.63 in donations of more than $50. According to the amended documents submitted Thursday, Stevens’ account was $19,972.63 and included $7,220 in contributions less than $50 and none that were larger except the nearly $13,000 he loaned the campaign.
In an effort to help recover some of the campaign costs, Stevens held a fundraiser on Dec. 19 at The Wilsonian. The 45-year-old man said he is unsure how much was raised, but more than 60 people attended and some did donate.
Rose said he has filed the last of the paperwork, donating the remainder of his campaign funds to a local nonprofit organization.
“After the election, candidates have three choices. They can remain active and continue to file campaign reports or they can go inactive, but if they do that, they cannot accept or spend any funds out of that account,” Morris said. “The third option is closing their campaign with a zero balance.”
Stevens said he plans to hire a company to prepare the annual financial report for his campaign, which is due by the end of January.