Perquimans sheriff's hopefuls raise $40K

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Sheriff Shelby White


By Peter Williams
The Perquimans Weekly

Thursday, July 19, 2018

HERTFORD — The two candidates for Perquimans sheriff have raised nearly $40,000 combined for their campaigns in this fall’s election, new campaign filing reports show.

Republican challenger Jim Bray has raised the most — nearly $20,000 — while spending roughly $16,100, his campaign finance report for the period April 22 through June 30 shows.

Democratic Sheriff Shelby White has raised almost as much — about $18,200 — and spent $16,200, his report filed with the N.C. Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement shows.

This is the first election for both candidates. White was appointed sheriff by the Perquimans County Board of Commissioners last year after former Sheriff Eric Tilley elected to retire before the end of his four-year term.

Bray retired earlier this year as a sergeant with the N.C. Highway Patrol. If he wins the Nov. 6 election, he will be the first Republican to hold the sheriff’s office in Perquimans.

Bray’s campaign report shows that between April 22 and June 30, he took in $6,446 and spent $10,056. He received $500 donations from Steven Bembridge, Tim Corprew, D.A. Lane and Stephen McDonald. 

During the first campaign reporting period from Jan. 1 through April 21, Bray had one supporter, Ed White Sr., who gave $4,400.

White’s campaign report shows receipts of $4,439 during the April 22-to-June 30 period and expenses of $4,423. White’s largest donor was Robin Copeland, who gave $250.

Both men have spent their most of their campaign money on yard signs and billboards, according to their reports.

White’s report also shows two “in kind” contributions of $234 from Cooke Communications, the parent company of The Perquimans Weekly. White clarified that his report considers the amounts “in kind” contributions because he, not his campaign, paid for newspaper ads published in the paper. Cooke Communications did not donate any ads to him, he said.

White said he didn’t enter the sheriff’s race with a specific fundraising figure in mind. He said while donations haven’t been large, there have been a lot of donors, which he hopes will translate into votes in the Nov. 6 general election. 

Bray said he would have had more donors, but people shy away from contributing because all donations over $50 are public and posted online by the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement.

“If you don’t ever go over $50, I’ll know the names, but they aren’t public. If you go over $50, then it is public record,” Bray said. “I’ve had a lot of people calling me and saying they support me, but they’re afraid to donate because it’s public. I tell them that I’d still appreciate them voting for me.”

Bray said he looks at both his report and White’s when they’re released.

“I get to see who is supporting him and who is not supporting me,” Bray said.

When he announced he was filing for sheriff, Bray said fighting drugs should be a main priority of the sheriff’s office.

“Drugs are the underlying cause of almost everything. I think people are tried of the good old boy system,” he said.

White said the sheriff’s office is limited in what it can do by the amount of funding it receives from county commissioners, who he said have been supportive of his department. He said his goal is to follow a long-range plan to provide the upgrades his department needs.

White said he’s been talking to people at meet-and-greet events in people’s homes and has been campaigning door to door.

“I’ve been speaking about anywhere that will have me there to speak,” he said.