House District 74 race: Candidates’ fundraising roughly even

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Montgomery County Commissioner Dimitri Polizos

Montgomery County Commissioner Dimitri Polizos

Former Montgomery County Board of Education president Charlotte Meadows (Lloyd Gallman/Montgomery Advertiser)

Former Montgomery County Board of Education president Charlotte Meadows

The latest campaign fundraising numbers for House District 74 show Montgomery County Commissioner Dimitri Polizos with a slight lead over former Montgomery Board of Education president Charlotte Meadows, though both are raising roughly the same amounts of money.

Polizos reported $29,332.50 on hand as of Monday, with Meadows reporting $25,598. Meadows raised $2,800 over the last week, while Polizos brought in $2,795.

The numbers reflect a significant shift from the beginning of the campaign this summer, when Meadows held an enormous fundraising edge over Polizos and Montgomery County Board of Education member Heather Sellers, due in part to a $100,000 loan Meadows made to her campaign. Meadows said in an interview Tuesday the money had gone toward the cost of running a primary and run-off campaign, and from countering broadcast advertisements and mailers from the Alabama Education Association.

The ads criticized Meadows’ affiliation with StudentsFirst, an organization founded by former Washington DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee that supports charter schools and opposes teacher tenure. Meadows was until recently the organization’s state outreach coordinator.

“When AEA began attacking, that increased the number of dollars we had to spend (to answer) the attacks,” she said. “I don’t we’ve wasted any money.”

Attempts to reach Polizos Tuesday afternoon were unsuccessful. Polizos and Meadows finished in first and second place last month in a primary for the north-central Montgomery House seat; the run-off for the seat is Nov. 19.

A campaign finance filing by the AEA’s political action committee, Alabama Voices of Teachers for Education, showed the group spent nearly $130,000 in October, including nearly $51,000 to Matrix, a political consulting firm headed by Joe Perkins.

Meadows said she would continue to emphasize her support for school choice programs and the rolling reserve, and accused Polizos of inconsistency.

“Mr. Polizos is evidently trying to change his positions, and still claims to be consistent conservative, (but) changing his position is not consistent and his positions are not conservative. I would really like voters to hear the real truth and to hear from both of us.”

In other campaign finance filings, Gov. Robert Bentley continued to pile cash into his war chest, reporting $2.1 million on hand. Bentley’s campaign strength may be unprecedented: A year before his 2006 re-election campaign, former Gov. Bob Riley had about $660,000 on hand, though he managed to pull in $3 million between November 2005 and January, 2006. Riley cruised to re-election that November.

– posted by Brian Lyman

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