Mayor Karl Dean has amassed a campaign war chest of approximately $525,000 four months before August’s election after pulling in about $203,000 in contributions from supporters in February and March.
Candidates for Metro’s Aug. 4 election were required to turn in financial disclosures Monday detailing receipts from the most recent reporting period. Previously, Dean had $426,000 cash on hand for his re-election bid but has since hired a campaign staff and opened a headquarters, among other expenditures.
“I am thankful to receive support from so many people,” Dean said in a statement. “I absolutely love my job, and I would be honored to lead our city into the future for another term.”
Dean’s fundraising totals put him at a commanding financial advantage over lone challenger Metro Councilman Michael Craddock, who has raked in slightly more than $14,000 since announcing his candidacy in February. The Madison-area councilman has already spent a large chunk of those funds, and has about $8,700 on hand.
“I am very humbled and thankful to receive the support of hard- working, everyday Nashvillians,” Craddock said. “Their hard-earned contributions to my campaign for mayor will be spent the same way I’d spend their tax dollars — very, very wisely,” Craddock said.
In February, Craddock told The City Paper he had accumulated $125,000 in financial commitments.
In a press release sent Monday, Craddock seemed to downplay his modest contribution totals, suggesting his donations have come from rank-and-file citizens. He noted the average donation to his campaign is $109. He said he has received 128 contributions, with 110 of those averaging just more than $24 each.
Four years ago, Dean relied on more than $1 million in family fortunes to help bankroll his campaign. Dean’s wife, Anne Davis, is the heir of coal money.
Never mentioning Dean by name, Craddock seemed to allude to Dean’s use of personal wealth in Monday’s press release.
“I knew going into this race that we face an enormous disadvantage in money,” Craddock said. “[Thirty-five] years ago, I married a lady I met cruising at Shoney’s in Madison — she is not a multi-millionaire.”
On Friday, Dean received endorsements from 10 elected Metro officials including Sheriff Daron Hall, Trustee Charlie Cardwell, County Clerk John Arriola, District Attorney Torry Johnson and Criminal Court Clerk David Torrence.
Dean said he was “honored and humbled” to have their support.
But Craddock labeled the group the “courthouse elite,” adding that he’s not surprised they support the incumbent.
“The courthouse elite endorsed my opponent within months of facing potential budget cuts,” Craddock said “This doesn’t surprise me because some of them have told me privately they feel their budgets are in danger for not going along with my opponent.”
Craddock did not identify who has privately told him about such concerns.