PACs key part of political contests

Published 9:01am Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The game of politics isn’t just about who is best for the job, but who also about who has the deeper pockets when it comes to campaign funds.

In the race for Senate District 30, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised between runoff candidates Harris Garner and Clyde Chambliss Jr.

Some of that financial support has come out of their own pockets as well as those of their supporters, and some have come from political action groups (PACs).

Looking at the campaign contributions of both candidates, they have been beneficiaries of PACs.

Garner has collected $9,500 from PACs, while Chambliss has garnered almost $220,000 from PACs, according to the latest campaign contributions listed on the Secretary of State’s website.

So with the money put into these campaigns, how would that affect their votes on Goat Hill?

Chambliss said that the contributions would never affect his vote should he be elected to the Senate.

The runoff will be decided July 15.

“I have a 14-year track record of being my own person, I will continue to do so by listening to all sides and then make the best long-term decision,” he said.

But Garner doesn’t believe Chambliss.

“When you have been given that much money from PACs, you’re gonna owe somebody,” he said.

Chambliss doesn’t deny his campaign has benefited from PAC money, but he said he wasn’t the only candidate who went to the well with hopes of gaining financial support.

“We met with these associations just like the other candidates and went through the interview process and told them where we wanted to take the state,” Chambliss explained. “They, then decided who would gain their support and most have been member-driven associations.”

So far Chambliss’ biggest

supporter has been from the Progress PAC, which is associated with the Business Council of Alabama. It has contributed $36,000.

Closely behind is the Farm PAC, which is affiliated with the Farmers Federation. It has contributed just shy of $36,000.

“The resources they got are not run of the mill. There is something more present than that. Can I prove it? No,” Garner added.

While 65 percent of Chambliss’ campaign contributions to date are from PACs, he said his campaign would not be where it was without the support of the people.

“You have to look at the whole picture,” Chambliss said. “In November and December of last year we went to the people of the district, and the grassroots said yes they wanted to support me and raised $60,000. That was the foundation for our campaign.”

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