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Thu, Aug. 22

County candidates file campaign finance reports

PRESCOTT ­ Of the six candidates running for three court-related county government seats, Clerk of the Superior Court Jeanne Hicks has spent the most money on her campaign in an effort to retain her seat in the face of primary competition.

Nearly all of the money came out of her pocket.

Hicks' spending report, which all candidates had to file by Aug. 31 if they didn't file a $500 threshold exemption statement, indicates that she spent $24,977 of the $29,921 contributions she received between Jan.1 and Aug. 23.

Each candidate's campaign finance report should show where the campaign money came from and how it was spent. Each candidate received a copy of the campaign finance reporting requirements when he or she took out a candidate packet.

Hicks said although she received two small contributions from her supporters, she loaned her campaign $28,000.

Hicks spent more than $20,000 on promotional aspects of her campaign, including $15,000 on media buys and almost $5,000 on campaign signs, fliers and brochures.

Hicks' opponent, Wayne Meddaugh, reported no contributions to his campaign although he spent $5,861, mostly on advertisements.

The report doesn't specify whether the money came out of Meddaugh's pocket, but he told the Daily Courier it did. He said he refused contributions.

Ernesto Flores and Terry Hemmen's reports also did not indicate the source of their campaign money; however, they both told the Daily Courier the money came out of their own pockets.

Flores, one of two Democrats running for the Seligman Justice of the Peace seat, reported no contributions, but declared $1,898 in spending. His challenger, Kathrine Blaylock, is exempt from submitting a spending report because she didn't spend more than $500.

Spending more than $500 requires creating a committee. Otherwise, they have to file a $500 threshold exemption statement.

Blaylock and Prescott Constable John Watson previously filed the latter. Watson's challenger, Hemmen, reported spending a total of $2,563.

Despite the requirement for candidates to file finance reports, the County Elections Department does not check to see if the reports include contributions and expenditures.

Elections Director Lynn Constabile said, "We don't check those. The only thing we check for is the date and the signature."

She said the county is "just a filing office. We don't have to police those. They are open to the public. If there is something wrong with them, the public has to bring it to the candidate's attention."

Constabile said the candidates usually watch each other.

"We just make sure that they file on time. If they don't file on time, we have to assess a penalty," the director said.

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