Knoxville mayoral candidates have been scrambling for donations even harder these days as the first shakeout of who is finally running will likely occur the first week in February.
The first financial reports on the race are due Feb. 1 to the Knox County Election Commission, disclosing the amount of money raised thus far. It will provide a first impression of the support for a candidate for mayor. Those falling way behind may not be able to recover and may drop out. But if any candidate reports contributions far in excess of opponents, they can claim front-runner status—like Bill Haslam in the gubernatorial race and Tim Burchett in the race for county mayor.
Early money generally sets the tone for the campaign and generates more contributions, while low fund-raising makes it harder to raise more. Technically, the disclosure statement is for the period from July 1, 2010 to Jan. 15, 2011, but nothing prevents a candidate for including more contributions between Jan. 15 and Feb. 1.
One early casualty may be Knox County Clerk Foster Arnett, who ended his (mostly theoretical) candidacy on Tuesday—perhaps preferring to quit while he was not-so-obviously-behind. The candidates still in are Marilyn Roddy, Madeline Rogero, Ivan Harmon, Rob Frost, and Mark Padgett.