With three months to go until the election for the next district attorney for St. Tammany and Washington parishes, the three announced candidates have been relatively low-profile in the media, with just websites and a couple of radio spots to show at this early stage.
But the quiet race to fund the campaigns is already in full gear, and two of the candidates — St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Brian Trainor and Covington lawyer Roy Burns — have already hit six figures, while Slidell lawyer Alan Black is in the mid-five-figures range, according to forms filed this week and last week with the Louisiana Ethics Administration.
The forms detail the campaigns’ fundraising and spending to July 27.
In the early stages, Burns has $198,723 on hand, the forms show. He raised the least of the three candidates in donations, $17,000, but loaned his campaign $200,000.
During the reporting period, Burns spent $18,277, including $6,595 for a poll and $10,000 to James Hartman and Associates, a political consulting firm.
Trainor raised by far the most money, pulling in $111,989 in cash and in-kind contributions. He has not loaned his campaign any money, the forms show, and he spent only $288 before July 31.
Black raised slightly more than Burns — $19,150 — and loaned his campaign $25,000, putting his total far behind his two competitors so far, the records show. The biggest chunk of his $3,900 in expenditures was a $2,500 payment to Debbi Smith Marketing and Management Solutions.
The three will face off in a Nov. 4 primary to succeed five-term District Attorney Walter Reed, who decided not to run again amid a storm of media reports about his conduct as district attorney, his contract with St. Tammany Parish Hospital and a federal investigation.
Reed also filed a campaign finance report, which showed that he spent far more than any of his would-be successors — $50,000 between April 29 and July 27. During that period, he spent $12,000 with Southern Media to conduct a public opinion poll in June and July, $12,277 in legal fees to the firm of New Orleans firm Hailey McNamara and $22,774 for public relations consultant Morgan Stewart, who was hired just in time to announce that Reed would not run for re-election. Stewart said that $8,774 of the money Reed paid him was spent on advertisements in the New Orleans Advocate and The Times-Picayune.
Qualifying for the race is Aug. 20-22.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.
Editor’s note: This story was changed on Aug. 8 to clarify that a portion of the money Reed paid Stewart went to newspaper advertising.