MACON, Ga. — Central Georgia business owners and attorneys opened up their checkbooks to give Lester Miller a big fund-raising lead in the 2020 Macon-Bibb mayor's race.
With the election still nearly 11 months away, Miller, a Macon attorney and school board president, has raised more than $196,000 in cash and has $151,000 on hand.
Larry Schlesinger, a rabbi and county commissioner, has raised more than $76,000 and has around $57,000 on hand.
That's according to records filed with the Macon-Bibb Board of Elections that cover the first half of 2019.
Those records also show where the money came from:
ATTORNEYS: 20 percent of Miller's donors listed their occupations as "attorney." They include Macon lawyers Floyd Buford, Manley Brown, David and Zack Dozier, George Greer and Duke Groover.
Schlesinger's report lists three lawyers among his 48 top donors, all from outside Central Georgia. One of them is former Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens.
BUSINESSES: More than a dozen business owners donated on behalf of their companies to Miller. They included Jeff Smith Ford and Game On Training both of Byron. Macon Occupational Training, Bibb Home Improvements, Lowe Electric, Houston Asphalt and several plumbing, electrical and landscaping companies.
Miller received $8,500 from one company, International City Builders, the company executives and one company spouse.
The construction company also donated heavily to Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms in his 2017 re-election race.
Four businesses donated to Schlesinger, including Ackerman Wrecker and Macon's iconic S&S Cafeteria.
RETIREES: A quarter of Schlesinger's 2019 donors listed their occupation as "retired." Four of Miller's were retired.
OUT OF TOWN: Schlesinger has 14 donors from outside Macon-Bibb, 12 from outside Central Georgia and three from out of state. About 20 percent of his fund raising came from outside Macon.
Miller has 23 donors outside Macon-Bibb, three from outside Central Georgia and two from out of state. About a quarter of his 2019 fund raising came from outside Macon.
BIG SPENDERS: 38 people or businesses gave Miller more than $1,000, and seven of them gave $2,800, the maximum amount.
Schlesinger got three donations of $1,000 or more, and nobody gave the maximum amount.
BASEBALL, HOT DOGS AND PUCKS: Former Atlanta Braves slugger Ryan Klesko, who lives in Macon, donated $1,400 to Miller. Nu-Way Weiner mogul Spyros Dermatos gave Miller $500.
But the Macon Mayhem hockey team gave Schlesinger $1,000.
Miller, Schlesinger and five other people have taken out papers to raise money for the 2020 mayor's race. Robert Reichert leaves office next year after 13 years in the mayor's office.
Candidates officially qualify for the race in March, the county votes on May 19 and if there's a runoff, that would happen July 21.
The other five:
- Virgil Watkins' report shows that he's raised $285, which he donated himself. Watkins is a real estate agent and Bibb County commissioner.
- Michael McKeever has not raised or spent any money, according to his report.
- Verbin Weaver submitted an affidavit that he doesn’t plan to raise more than $2,500 during his campaign. According to the elections board, he is not required to submit campaign-finance reports.
- Chatavia Callaway has not filed reports with the election board.
- Charles Olson entered the race last week and his first report is due Dec. 31.