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Werkheiser and Friends Spent $100k to Win House Primary, 90% From Out of District

Campaign finance documents filed with the state in early July show State Representative Bill Werkheiser and Political Action Committees (PACs) working in his favor spent over $100,000 to keep his seat in the State House in Georgia’s 157th House District.

Werkheiser, who represents Tattnall, Evans, and a portion of Wayne counties, was challenged by Glennville native Delvis Dutton who served in the legislature from 2010 to 2014. Early polls showed Dutton with a considerable lead, 44%-11%, until the campaign quickly turned negative and a series of negative campaign mailers and radio ads against Dutton began running in the district.

Ultimately, Werkheiser outspent Dutton 10-1, spending $78,453 of his own campaign contributions which totaled $121,000. An estimated $30,000 in radio ads  and mailers paid for by the Georgia Coalition for Job Creation against Dutton. Similarly, Dutton spent $7,261, with 100% of his donations originating from the district.

Werkheiser’s money was largely from other lawmakers, attorneys from Atlanta, and lobbying organizations. $93,400 came from outside the district while $10,050 was from House District 157, meaning just over 90% of his donations were from places outside of Tattnall, Evans, and Wayne counties. A list of the outside donors are below.

Donors Out of District Organization Amount
Ashley Groome (McGuire Woods Public Affairs) $500
Basto, Ela Orenstein Attorney – Atlanta $100
Bill Morie (Committee of Automobile Retail Dealers) $750
Shaw Blackmon State Rep – Bonaire $650
Bo Moore (GA Society of CPAs) $500
Bo Moore (Connect South For A Better GA) $1,000
Bo Moore (Connect South) $2,500
Brandie Bickle (Credit Union Pac) 250
Brent Beemer (Workplace Injury Network) 2600
Brett Hulme (Southeastern Carpenters Regional Council) $1,000
Brown, Thomas Attorney – Suwannee $250
Bruce Williamson (GA House Republican Trust) $2,600
Bryan Markowtiz (GA Optometric Association) 250
Bryan Tolar (GA Agriculture Council) $500
Buckelew, Brian Attorney – Atlanta $100
Burns, Frank Attorney – Atlanta $100
Caressa Hughes (Service Corporation International) $1,000
Caroline McLean (Civil Justice Pac) $2,500
Kasey Carpenter State Rep – Dalton $1,000
Carroll, Joshua Attorney – Macon $100
Castan, Daniel Attorney – Atlanta $100
Charles Hood (Rayonier Advanced Materials) – Florida $500
Chris McCrary (Georgia Power Employees) $1,000
Christy, Marsha Attorney – Perry $500
Clark, Chris Attorney – Macon $1,000
Clay, Bethea (Rayonier Advanced Materials) – Florida $1,000
Connor Poe (Norfolk Southern) $400
Christian Coomer State Rep – Cartersville $1,500
Craig Camuso (CSX Transportation) $350
Cummings, William Attorney – Atlanta $250
David Mollering (Ga Highway Contractors) $500
David Morgan (American Federation for Children) $2,000
Derek Norton (Medical Association of GA) $500
Dickey, Robert State Rep – Musella $1,300
Dickson, Tom Retired – Cohutta, GA 500
Durrence, Barney Jo & Patricia Retired – Register, GA $100
Ed Lindsey (Dentons) $500
Emadi, David Douglas Co. District Attorney $250
England, Terry State Rep – Auburn, GA $1,500
Ethan James (GA Hospital Association) $500
Finnell, Robert Rome, GA – Attorney $200
Frank Morris (United Parcel Service) $500
Georgia Ray (Nelson Mullins) $150
Ginger Folger (GA Association of Professional Bondsmen) $500
Goldberg, Fried Rogers Attorney – Atlanta $1,000
Harold Bevis (Delta Pac) $750
Harper, Tyler Senator – Ocilla $1,000
Harrell, Brett State Rep – Gwinnett $1,000
Harrison, Kevin & Sonya Alpharetta, GA $150
Hatchett, Matt State Rep $1,500
Hendon, Zack Attorney – Atlanta $250
Hendrix, Robert & Vicki Attorney – Columbus $100
Herman, Thomas Attorney – Macon $250
Hunter Towns (Capitol Partners) $500
Izquierdo, Humberto Attorney – Cumming $250
Jason Bragg (Georgia EMC Pac) $500
Jeff Ledford (Ga Association of Realtors) $400
Jeffares, Rick State Senator – McDonough $1,000
Jet Toney (GA Affordable Housing Coalition) $500
Jim Barber (Resurgens PC) $250
John Barbour (Independent Insurance Agents of GA) $300
Jan Jones State Rep – Alpharetta $1,500
Karen Bremmer (GA Restaurant Association) 250
KC Honeyman (Wholesale Distributors for Good Government) $500
Kelley, Trey State Rep – Polk County $1,300
Kevin Curtin (AT&T Georgia) $600
Kevin Perry (Beverage Pac) $250
Kevin Perry Coca-Cola $250
Kingston, Jack Lobbyist $500
Kirby Thompson (Suntrust Good Government Group) $500
Kyle Jackson (GA Chamber Political Affairs Council) $1,000
Kyle Jackson (GA Transportation Alliance) $500
LaRiccia, Dominic State Rep – Douglas GA $1,000
LeAnna Brown (Metro Atlanta Chamber) $500
Lewis Massey (Massey, Watson & Hembree) $250
Linda Hamrick (Hamrick Consulting) $500
Long, Jim Attorney – Atlanta $500
Mark Woodall (Associated General Contractors of Ga) $500
Marshall Guest (Metro Atlanta Chamber) $500
Matt Ralston (Cancer Treatment Centers of America) $250
Maxwell, Howard State Rep – Douglas County $1,000
Maziar, Todd Attorney – Atlanta $200
McManes, Spencer Attorney – Atlanta $500
Meadows, John State Rep- Calhoun $2,500
Michael Wall Comcast $1,600
Mike Giles (GA Poultry Federation) $250
Moskowitz, David & Debra Attorney – Atlanta $250
Nathan Humphrey (National Federation of Independent Businesses) $200
Newsom, Katherine Hung Attorney – Atlanta $250
Nick DeJong (Blue Cross Blue Shield) $500
Nimmer, Chad State Rep – Blackshear $1,000
Ogden, Lou & Caitlin Baxley, GA $100
Osjha Anderson Domenicone (Select Management Resources) $2,600
Parrish, Butch State Rep – Candler COunty $1,300
Penelope Moceri (GA Apartment Association) $500
Perales, Ralph Attorney – Atlanta $1,000
Perkins, Jason Attorney – Carrollton $200
Petrea, Jesse State Rep – Savannah $1,300
Powell, Jay State Rep – Camilla $1,000
Ralston, David State Rep – Blue Ridge $2,600
Reeves, Bert State Rep – Marietta $500
Rhodes, Trey State Rep – Greensboro $500
Robert Bourne (Bourne Law Firm) $1,000
Robert Potter (SFA PAC) $1,000
Roger Lane (Georgia Oilman’s Association) $1,000
Rohan, Doug Attorney – Atlanta $250
Roth, James Attorney – Atlanta $1,000
Sally Kilpatrick (Cornerstone Government Affairs) $250
Skibiel, Mark & Lauren Brooks, GA $250
SMith, Richard State Rep – COlumbus $2,600
Spillers, Charles Attorney – Cumming $250
Stephen Loftin (GA Cable Association) $2,100
Stottlemyer, Sarah Attorney – Atlanta $200
Sundbeck, Milton Mississippi $1,000
Tankersley, Jan State Rep. – Statesboro $250
Terry Hobbs (Hobbs & Associates) $500
Thomas, Lindsay & Nancy Screven, GA $250
Tillery, Blake State Senator – Vidalia $2,600
Trip Martin (GeorgiaLink for Good Government) $150
Tyrone, Nelson Attorney – Atlanta $1,000
Vincent Erario (GA Chiropractic Association) $1,000
Watson, Sam State Rep – Moultrie $1,000
Willard, Wendell State Rep – Atlanta $500
Williams, Chuck Ga Forestry Commission $200
WIlliamson, Bruce State Rep – Monroe $500
$93,400

 

Dutton pledged to donate his legislative salary to local charities in House District 157, if elected, and shortly thereafter, Werkheiser announced he had been donating his salary for four years, though no information was ever publicly provided to validate those claims. Directors of charities in areas of the district did say they received checks from Werkheiser for their 501(c)3 organizations just ahead of Election Day in May.

Dutton also challenged Werkheiser on his vote to increase lawmaker retirement. Werkheiser voted in favor of the measure during the 2018 legislative session and it angered citizens around the district. Werkheiser used local newspapers in the area to convey that he was not a member of the retirement system as a lawmaker, however, those documents are sealed under Georgia’s Open Records Act, and no person from the public could ever confirm if that statement is true.

Werkheiser and his supporters spent more to defeat his primary opponent than any other challenged state representative in the state. Similarly, the Georgia Coalition for Job Creation meddled in at least six State House races across Georgia and delivered more mailers to voters in Tattnall, Evans, and Wayne counties than anywhere else. PACs are not legally permitted to work directly with candidates and they are shielded from the election laws by which candidates are governed. You can read more about the Georgia Coalition for Job Creation here.  

You can scroll through Werkheiser’s campaign disclosure below. Dutton’s is below Werkheiser’s.

Werkheiser Report 06.30.18
DUtton report june 30

Jessica Szilagyi is a Statewide Contributor for AllOnGeorgia.com. She focuses primarily on state and local politics as well as issues in law enforcement. She has a background in Political Science with a focus in local government and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Jessica is a "Like It Or Not" contributor for Fox5 in Atlanta and has two blogs of her own: The Perspicacious Conservative and "Hair Blowers to Lawn Mowers."

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