Flowers’ warchest outweighs opponents’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 28, 2002

BNI Newswire

Former State Rep. Steve Flowers holds a commanding lead in donations to date, taking in more than his three opponents combined and sitting on a warchest balance of $191,959.

Reports due 45 days before the June 4 primary at the Secretary of State’s Office were filed recently, showing candidate Mike Morton of Fairfield with no contributions or expenditures to report at all.

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Although he has filed no expenditures, signs and other political materials have been placed in and around Chilton County businesses and homes.

Morton could not be reached for comment.

Former State Rep. Don Murphy, who is a Pelham businessman and has a farm in Chilton County, had a balance of $5,452, while Christian radio personality Hank Erwin had only $187.17 after spending most of his $6,940 in contributions.

There are no Democrats qualified in the race.

Flowers, who had $227,007 with his annual statement at the start of the year, took in another $19,055 this year from contributions and another $626.83 from other sources. He spent $54,729.93 since starting the campaign.

On Friday Flowers said he had more money coming in since the 45 day filing deadline, as some PACs were waiting until past then to be listed. "I saw some come in the very next day," he said.

The Business Council of Alabama has endorsed him and he expects to receive between $25,000 and $50,000 from that group.

"It’s been good this week," he said, crediting the deadline and this week’s ruling from the Supreme Court on his candidacy as the reason for that.

Murphy had a beginning balance of $1,385.74 and took $5,000 from the Alabama Builders political action committee (PAC) in Montgomery as his only contribution. He loaned himself another $2,052.98, and then spent $2,985.98 – repaying himself the $2,052 and paying $933 to Kimbrough and Associates of Birmingham, both on April 21.

Erwin had no beginning balance before this year. He took in $6,940 in contributions and spent $6,758.83. Contributions included two businesses, Americapital Funding Corp. (a former radio sponsor), $1,000, and Neil’s Pharmacy in Pelham, $100. John A. Williamson Sr. of Birmingham gave $2,000, while Alan and Linda Belcher of Brent gave $1,000 and Steven G. and Diane McKinney of Birmingham gave $500. Others gave in the $100 to $200 range.

In expenditures, Erwin spent $1,000 and $500 to Patrick E. Kennedy of Alabaster for campaign management, and contributed $150 to the Eagle Forum in Mountain Brook for membership and $500 to SAV America Foundation, which he founded, for rent, and $250 to reimburse himself for a donation to the Royal Masters Singers, under the heading of fundraising.

As rules prohibit him being paid to have a radio show and be a candidate, Erwin paid $300 to WQCR Christian Radio in Alabaster in advertising in order to maintain a 15-minute radio show.

Most of his other expenditures were for campaign materials such as phones, postage and signs.

Of the $19,055 Flowers received, he received $5,000 from Children’s PAC in Birmingham and two contributions of $5,000 from Bizpac in Montgomery. He also received $2,500 from the Alabama Independent Insurance Agents’ PAC. Two businesses, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Pike Health Services, each gave $500.

As for the $54,729 he had in expenditures, Flowers paid $3,000 to N Vision Productions of Homewood for consulting, as well as $2,250 for a website (, $6,350 for billboards, $3,000 for direct mail and $11,501 for signs. Overall that one company has been paid more than $23,000.

Flowers has also spent close to $15,500 on newspaper advertising in the district, and also made a $500 contribution to the National Rifle Association and took out ads with groups such as the Birmingham Humane Society, the City of Helena, the City of Pelham, Helena Intermediate School and the Miss Shelby County Scholarship.

Danny Patterson of Vestavia was paid $700 for consulting, while a number of people got small payments for campaign work or typing.

Murphy said contributions have "picked up considerably" and that he is lining up support among mayors and city councils. While he knew Flowers would try to outspend him, he wouldn’t outwork him.

"I’m getting the votes," he said. He noted he has a 300-acre farm in Chilton County. "I’ve got a vested interest in Chilton County."

Erwin said his contributions are increasing. "My contributions will come from people who are friends, neighbors and family. I’m pleased with where we are at."

While he said he is working off a "modest budget," he said this "sets a good example for Montgomery."