Thursday, May 26, 2022

Campaign finances: Pierce raises more than all challengers combined in first quarter, Olson-Boseman spends $27

LeAnn Pierce, a Republican candidate for New Hanover County commissioner, raised $67,482 between the beginning of January and the end of April. (Port City Daily/Shea Carver)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — LeAnn Pierce far outpaced her competition in the first quarter of campaign financing, raising a whopping $67,482 since January to benefit her race for a seat on the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. The Republican candidate was trailed not-so-closely behind by one of her party competitors, Joe Irrera, collecting $24,345.

Comparatively, Democrat Travis Robinson has committed to raising no more than $1,000 in the election cycle and therefore is not required to file campaign finance reports under North Carolina law. Current New Hanover County Chairwoman Julia Olson-Boseman — who has faced backlash for failing to report her campaign financials and pay fines — recorded spending just $27 of $5,000-plus in contributions during quarter one.

Pierce, the former mayor of Carolina Beach, has recorded $81,507 in finances total this election cycle. Her most generous donation so far in 2022 came from the CEO of PolyQuest, a plastics manufacturer; John Marinelli issued a $5,400 payment.

Tim Milam, CEO of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, was another strong supporter with a $3,000 gift. Pierce also secured $2,500 each from nonprofit executive Susie Sewell, Carolina Retreats owner Mike Harrington and developer D Logan of Logan Homes.

In the first quarter, Pierce disbursed $50,476 on operating expenses. Her highest expenses were billboards, spending $10,260 between Tedder Media Management and Lamar Advertising. Another $10,000 went to Full Rudder Creative for TV and radio ads.

Behind Pierce, Irrera has documented $48,140 in finances so far this election cycle. Almost all of his first-quarter earnings came from individual donors, with the exception of a $250 backing from city councilman Charlie Rivenbark’s election committee and $500 from former commissioner Woody White’s campaign.

Mike McCarley, founder of Carolina Marine Terminal, signed the largest check with $2,000 in the dollar box. Irrera also earned $1,000 each from Hank Estep, president of insurance group GriffinEstep, and attorney George Rountree.

Irrera spent $19,030 over the past four months, with $4,500 going toward social media.

Republican Tom Toby was right behind Irrera, raising close to $20,000 in the first quarter. He’s collected just over $21,000 throughout the entire election cycle.

Toby’s campaign finance report lists a number of $100 and $500 contributors and several $1,000 gifts, but his strongest financial proponent was Lara Logan of Logan Homes, who wrote a $5,600 check.

In the first quarter, the commissioner hopeful expended $13,488. ​​Just over $400 of that was used to deck out a car with a custom election decal, and he paid Island Cruises $1,000 to rent a private charter for the “Tom Cruise,” his campaign event. He’s also spent $4,400 on billboard advertising and $2,928 on yard signs.

With $6,685 contributed personally, Harry Knight has tracked $7,179 in campaign finances during the four-month quarter. He had just five donors; the most willing, Jane and Scott Sullivan, both signed $500 checks.

So far in the election cycle, the Republican candidate has reported $8,625 total in funds.

The two incumbents in the race — Olson-Boseman and Rob Zapple — both reported the least amount of cash. Zapple, a Democrat, raised $4,830 in the first quarter with a $1,000 gift from Ken Dull, president of McKinley Building Corporation, and four $500 donations.

Zapple dropped $3,100 on operating expenses in the first quarter. In all during this election cycle, he’s reported having $12,104.

His colleague and fellow Democrat Olson-Boseman raised $5,250 and spent just $27.29 on office expenses, according to the disclosure report. Her biggest donor was Jason Thompson with a $1,500 contribution, but she also accepted $500 offerings from several local professionals. She’s left with $5,222 to spend through the rest of the election or, if unused, to give to charities or other political campaigns.

Reach the reporter at or @alexsands_

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Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands is a journalist covering New Hanover County and education. Before Port City Daily, she reported for the award-winning State Port Pilot in Southport. She graduated from UNC Charlotte and wrote for several Charlotte publications while there. When not writing, Williams is most likely in the gym, reading or spending time with her Golden Pyrenees. Reach her at or on Twitter @alexsands_

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