Orange County will elect a new sheriff for the first time in three decades, and with six Democrats vying for the job, that race will be decided in next week’s primary. With that in mind, candidates are spending the majority of their campaign dollars now.
But no one has raised and spent as much as Charles Blackwood. According to first quarter campaign finance reports, the 32-year veteran of the sheriff’s office raised $34,732 so far this election cycle.
That includes $5,473 the campaign had on hand at the beginning of the race, another $5,852 Blackwood loaned his campaign, and $28,880 from individuals.
Of that, Blackwood has spent $22,759. In addition to paying for signs and banners, the campaign has spent $5,000 on mailers, $3,400 on hats and tee-shirts, $1,000 on a custom car-wrap, and $460 in fuel.
This puts him head and shoulders above his competition. For comparison, Keith Webster has raised $8,033, David Caldwell has raised $4,622, Andy Cagle has $4,270, Larry Faucette has $3,535 and Buddy Parker has $2,271.
While most of the candidates have spent the bulk of the money raised, Blackwood still has $11,845 in his campaign coffers, which may prove useful if next week’s primary triggers a run-off. If no one garners more than 40 percent of the vote, the top two candidates could face off in a second primary later this summer.
Early voting is underway now until Saturday. The primary is next Tuesday. For more about each candidate, you can listen to a forum hosted by the Orange County Democratic Party here.