Sheriff challenger has spent nearly $64K on bid

Gary B. Gray • Apr 30, 2014 at 9:50 PM

Craig Ford has spent more than $63,800 in his bid to unseat incumbent Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal.

The amount is over three times that of Graybeal and more than the combined amount disbursed by incumbent County Mayor Dan Eldridge and his opponent Zoning Administrator Mike Rutherford for the May 6 Republican primary, according to financial disclosures filed with the Washington County Election Commission.

The total amount includes figures from a first quarter report and a “pre-primary” report due Tuesday.

Ford, currently the town of Jonesborough’s operations manager, pulled in $7,400 from the political action committee Citizens for a Safer Washington County. He also has received several $1,500 contributions, as well as a $150 contribution from former Mountain State Health Alliance President and CEO Dennis Vonderfecht.

Ford supporters have been evident at the county’s three early-voting sites. However, it appears he saved the best for last, so to speak, having only $714 on hand.

Graybeal has spent a total of $21,125 and has $15,337 on hand.

The sheriff has received $1,600 donations from James Powell, Sandra Powell and Cathy Essin, an administrator with Powell Companies. Graybeal also has received a $500 contribution from Gerald Thomas, owner of Johnson City’s Thomas Construction.

“The first reporting period was for Jan. 16 through March 31, and this was due April 1,” said Maybell Stewart, Washington County administrator of elections. “The pre-primary disclosures run from April 1 through April 26, and these were due on April 29.”

The county mayor’s financial disclosures reveal roughly an equal amount of contributions received to this point, with Eldridge at $17,470 and Rutherford at 17,400. However, Eldridge has spent $24,681 while Rutherford has disbursed $15,787.

The glaring disparity on these ledgers is that Eldridge has outstanding loans totaling $264,000. This is borrowed money as well as some carry-over from the 2010 election. Rutherford’s outstanding loans total $6,266.

Eldridge’s contributors include Gerald Thomas at $1,000. Incumbent county commissioners Alpha Bridger, David Shanks and Joe Sheffield have contributed to Rutherford’s campaign.

The next period for financial disclosures covers the Aug. 7 state primary and county general election. The next due date is July 10. The pre-county general disclosures are due July 31.Washington County mayor/sheriff candidates (Jan.1-April 26)


Dan Eldridge Mike Rutherford

Total contributions: $17,470 $17,400

Disbursements: $24,681 $15,787

On hand: $11,447 $1,611

Loans/obligations: $264,000 $6,266


Ed Graybeal Craig Ford

Total contributions: $21,125 $45,540

Disbursements: $15,798 $63,835

On hand: $15,337 $714

Loans/obligations: $2,310 $19,000

Follow Gary B. Gray on Twitter at @ggrayjcpress. Like him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/garybgrayjcp.

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