October 30, 2013 9:56:04 AM
Interim Oktibbeha County Prosecutor Haley Brown holds a significant lead in campaign financing over her two opponents, Brace Knox and Matthew Wilson, outpacing both in donations and expenses used toward Nov. 5's special election, documentation shows.
Tuesday marked the deadline for pre-election campaign financing reports. All three candidates filed their mandatory reports with the Oktibbeha County Circuit Clerk's office on time.
Brown's report shows the interim prosecutor raised $16,224 in donations and spent about $8,500 so far on the campaign trail. She has almost $8,000 left in her war chest six days before the election.
Comparatively, Wilson, the second-highest earning and spending candidate in the race, brought in $5,728.43 in his election efforts and spent almost $3,500, documents show. His reported on-hand cash amount is listed at about $3,200.
Knox's report states she received no contributions during her election run but spent $1,101.11 toward the race. No cash on hand was reported in her filing.
Pre-election campaign reports break down contributions in two ways: specific listings for itemized receipts or entries consisting of more than $200 and an unlisted total for earnings less than $200. Brown's filing shows she received $8,650 in itemized donations and $7,574 in non-itemized receipts, while Wilson took in $3,700 and $2,028.43, respectively.
Of those itemized listings, documents show a number of prominent Starkville-based lawyers supporting Brown - eight of those 12 donors are listed as either local attorneys or law firms. Only two of the 12 donors are listed as having out-of-city or -state physical addresses. Comparatively, of Wilson's four itemized donors, only one lists a Starkville physical address. The other three -- two of which have legal ties -- list Tennessee addresses.
Disbursements are also broken down into itemized and non-itemized categories. Brown's entire $8,526.46 worth of spending is detailed in the itemized category, and those funds primarily went toward advertising, canvassing and printing.
Knox also detailed her entire campaign spending. Her disbursements went toward T-shirts, signs, cards, posters and the fee for obtaining a county voter roll.
A majority of Wilson's spending -- $2,747 of $3,481 -- is detailed in the report and reflects printing and radio advertising costs.
A special election was called after Roy Carpenter Jr. ended his almost 30-year career as Starkville's and Oktibbeha County's prosecutor in June.
Brown, who the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors named interim prosecutor, graduated from the University of Mississippi's law school and served as a prosecutorial extern. Mississippi's Limited Practice Act allowed her to prosecute cases as a third-year law student before she earned her license.
Knox is a Mississippi College School of Law graduate who began her full-time Starkville practice in 2007. Recently, she partnered professionally with MC Law graduate Philip Laura.
Wilson operates a general practice in Starkville and handles civil and criminal litigation. He is a graduate of Mississippi State University's Bagley College of Engineering.
The prosecutor's special election is the only race on the Nov. 5 ballot. The Oktibbeha County Circuit Clerk's Office, located at the annex on Main Street near the county education building, will remain open until noon Saturday to accommodate absentee voters.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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