Candidates combined spent #036;1.4 million

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Sen. &#8220Walking” Wendell Mitchell and Republican challenger Joan Reynolds combined to spend over $1.4 million leading up to last November's General Election for the District 30 Senate seat, according to campaign financial reports.

Mitchell - the longtime senator from Luverne - bested Reynolds by pulling in 62 percent of the vote in his six-county senate district.

The fight for District 30 is considered by many political experts to have been one of the most expensive campaigns for a seat in the Alabama Legislature ever. Reynolds spent $922,446 in 2006, while Mitchell spent $540,155.32.

According to a financial report submitted Jan. 31 to the Secretary of State's office, Mitchell spent $540,155 on his campaign for re-election in 2006. He received $400,425 in campaign donations, $550.29 in-kind contributions, and $13,411 in receipts from other sources.

Ed Packard, who works in the Elections Office of the Secretary of State, explained that in-kind contributions were a monetary value placed on services rendered to a candidate, such as the purchasing of campaign signage or billboards. Receipts from other sources, he said, is funding funneled into a campaign either by a loan made directly to the candidate, or funds from an interest bearing bank account.

Mitchell received donations from a wide-variety of contributors from across District 30, including Political Action Committees (PACS), individuals, and businesses.

&#8220He (Mitchell) just can't be beat with the contacts he has with the state government to give state grants,” Reynolds' husband Paul Reynolds, who coordinated her campaign, said in an interview with the Troy Messenger following the election. &#8220The money he gives out endures him to so many groups. That was the biggest hurdle we had to overcome and we couldn't do it. He will be there as long as he wants to be in my opinion.”

Reynolds received $271,296 in cash contributions in 2006, $11,483 in-kind contributions, and $666,676.20 in receipts from other sources. The majority of funds helped launch a massive mail-out campaign prior to the election, attacking Mitchell on everything from his voting record to his support of the troops abroad.

Paul Reynolds said he and his wife didn't like some of the negative advertisements prepared by the political consulting firm they hired. He said they possibly would have gone in a different direction if they could do it over again.

&#8220We've talked a lot about the negative ads, but the outcome would have been the same,” Reynolds told the Messenger.

Mitchell told the Montgomery Advertiser on Feb. 20 he was &#8220trying to raise some funds to make sure I come out even on this race.”