Fort Mill Times

Senate candidates' war chests disclosed

Pre-election campaign disclosures have given candidates in the S.C. Senate District 16 race fuel for an already heated campaign. If nothing else, the disclosures show the race between current House District 45 Representative Mick Mulvaney (R-Indian Land) and his Democratic opponent, Lancaster bankruptcy lawyer Mandy Powers Norrell, has been costly. But the source of some contributions has sparked another skirmish between the two camps.

Norrell's campaign manager sent an e-mail last week blasting Mulvaney for paying $750 to View Politik, a political consulting firm created by Will Folks. Folks also runs a political blog that has referenced Norrell on several occasions. Daniel Boan, Norrell's campaign manager, called the blog "sexist and borderline pornographic" and asks in the e-mail if Mulvaney is paying Folks' consulting firm to trash Norrell on the blog.

Mulvaney said he hired Folks to help him create responses to push polls used during the primary and emphasized he has no involvement in Folks' Web site.

"I do read Will's blog. I read a lot of them. Will is unique. Some stuff of his I like and some I don't like," Mulvaney said.

Mulvaney has raised $180,422 to date, while Norrell has raised $109,706.

Mulvaney has raised questions about where Norrell's campaign contributions are coming from. More than $10,000 of the contributions Norrell reports do not detail the occupation of the contributor. Mulvaney said he wants to know how much of her funding is coming from special interest groups.

"The answer is, we don't know because she's not disclosing the occupations of the majority of her donors," Mulvaney said.

State House District 45 candidate Deborah Long, a republican, has raised $60,925, according to the most recent filings with the state ethics commission. Fred Thomas, the Democratic candidate for the seat, disclosed that he has raised $16,925 during the election, though in reports filed in July he reported raising $19,428.

According to the latest report, 17 of Long's contributions have come from optometrists across the state, and one each from New York and Utah. Long is a member and past president of the S.C. Optometric Association and has said that many of her contributions have come from colleagues she met while working with the association.

The majority of Thomas' contributions have come from his hometown of Lancaster.

In the York County races, coroner candidate Pete Skidmore, a Democrat, led the way in fundraising, bringing in $34,090 for the election cycle; $26,070 is from 70 donors, including $14,000 in $1,000 increments from businesses and business owners in Myrtle Beach. Most came from York County residents or businesses in increments of $100 or less.

Skidmore's opponent, Republican Sabrina Gast, by contrast raised a total of $4,900 for the election, including $1,700 this period from eight donors. She listed herself as one of the donors. Gast received two, $500 contributions.

In the York County Council District 1 race, incumbent Republican Paul Lindemann reported raising $5,864 for the campaign with $4,964 coming in the most recent period from 15 donors. Only two of the donors - one of which is Lindemann - live in District 1, according to his disclosure form.

Democratic candidate Marion Davenport has raised $3,916.97 for the campaign with most of it - $3,006.08 - coming in the most recent period from 21 donors, including 13 who live in the district. Green Party candidate Bryan Smith has not filed any campaign disclosure forms according to state records.

The disclosures are available for viewing on the S.C. State Ethics Commission Web site,