The family of former Mayor Bill Haslam has so far been largely absent from the race to elect his successor, but that reticence has apparently ended: Among the donors listed on Mark Padgett’s latest financial disclosure form are both of Haslam's siblings: His brother James A. "Jimmy" Haslam III gave $1,000, and his sister Ann Bailey gave $2,000. (Her husband Steve donated the same amount).
In all, Padgett is reporting a preliminary amount of $140,000 raised in the last quarter, for a total to date of over $265,000, with cash on hand of more than $160,000. Other names of note on his list include Tim Williams, CEO of 21st Mortgage, and the PAC of Congressman Heath Shuler.
In a statement released with his report, Padgett says, “I’m honored by the support I have received from voters who want a mayor with business experience, energy, and a fresh perspective in city government.”
There has been abundant speculation about where the Haslam favor might fall in this mayoral field, considering that one candidate, Madeline Rogero, both ran against and then worked for Bill Haslam; another, Padgett, is from a family enmeshed in local Democratic politics; and the sole Republican, Ivan Harmon, is associated with Republican Party factions that were historically not those of the GOP establishment Haslams. The contributions are not quite a full-on family endorsement—patriarch Big Jim is still nowhere to be seen—but they suggest that Padgett is having success reaching out to mainstream Republicans who aren’t happy with the other choices.
An earlier edition of this post stated that Natalie Haslam, not Jimmy Haslam, had donated to the campaign due to an error in the documentation provided by Padgett's campaign.