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Smith raises 10 times more than Hudnall

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
April 26, 2001
Mayor John Robert Smith has won the campaign fund-raising battle against Republican challenger Wally Hudnall, according to campaign finance records filed this week at Meridian City Hall.
According to state law, any contribution over $200 must be reported.
Records obtained by The Meridian Star show that Smith raised $39,094 from Jan. 1 to April 21, 2001. Hudnall raised $4,970 during the same period.
Smith listed 55 contributors to his campaign, which reads like a who's who list of Meridian businessmen. It includes: Glen Deweese, owner of Deweese Enterprises, Inc. ($1,000); E.M. "Hoot" Gipson, owner of Gipson Steel ($500); Tommy Dulaney, owner of Structural Steel Services, Inc. ($500); Joe Clay Hamilton, owner of The Hamilton Law Firm ($500); Jimmy Alexander, owner of A&B Electric ($500) and the Bourdeaux and Jones law firm ($500). Smith's largest contributor was James Skewes, who gave $1,500.
Smith said the broad-based support from the business community shows they have been pleased with the Meridian's direction during his two terms in office.
Hudnall characterized the disproportionate fund-raising totals as some form of political back-scratching between Smith and the business community.
Hudnall listed three contributors. Hudnall, whose largest campaign contribution ($750) came from local developer Paul Broadhead, says there is a downside to receiving so much money.
Smith refuted that allegation saying campaign contributions have never meant political favors in his administration.
Smith and Hudnall will face each other tonight in a debate sponsored by the Viscounts Civic and Social Club, which will be held at the Council of Organizations' building at 814 45th Ave. The debate will begin at 7 p.m.
The Republican primary is set to take place Tuesday.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3226, or e-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.