Johns Creek council races:

Dawood reports $25K campaign war chest Early fundraiser sets tone for City Council races

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. - Johns Creek Post 5 City Council candidate Nazeera Dawood announced last week campaign she has raised $23,500 prior to her June 30 required disclosure filing deadline with the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.

The lion’s share of the funding came from her kickoff fundraiser June25 at Thornhill Country Club June attended by more than 65 “enthusiastic” supporters, according to her campaign manager Craig Kidd.

“Obviously the campaign is just beginning. Our goal was$20,000, and we met it and exceeded that,” Kidd said. “So we are very pleased to be where we are at this point.”

This point being four months and change before the Nov. 3 council elections. Dawood has announced she is running for the seat vacated by Kelly Stewart who ran unsuccessfully for the State House District 50 seat.

“We know Johns Creek has a history of expensive elections. We also expect a large wide-open field to replace Kelly. We want to make sure Nazeera’s campaign is as well funded as possible and as well prepared as possible for the field we are going to have to run against.”

This does continue the recent history in Johns Creek with candidates – often self-funded spending tens of thousands of dollars for a post that pays a salary of $15,000 annually.

Kidd said they expect a robust field to come out.

“We’re a city that loves to elect people who self-finance. You can look back and look at Cori Davenport, Kelly Stewart, Brad Raffensperger, Steve Broadbent, Bob Gray,” Kidd said.

All of these candidates are sitting or former council members.

“Every one of them to a degree was self-financed – either to a large degree or a fair amount. Nazeera is not in a position where she can do that and be competitive in today’s elections.”

So fundraising will be key to Dawood’s success, he said.

He was quick to point out there is nothing wrong with candidates self-financing.

“Johns Creek is blessed with people of ability who are in a position to do that.”

Kidd noted there are exceptions to self-funding candidates on the City Council. He said Councilman Lenny Zaprowski and Mayor Mike Bodker did not self-finance their elections to any great degree.

“That just shows we need to focus on campaign fundraising to make sure she reaches the voters of this city,” Kidd said.

It is just a symptom of the way campaigning is going in the 21st century, he said. Candidates have to reach out through many media. Mailers, flyers, social media and the “dreaded” robo-calls have been shown to be the most effective ways to reach the public.

“You have to blame the public for that. Gone are the days when people would make their way down to the town hall and hear the candidates debate the issues. So you have to find other ways to reach out to them,” he said.

Asked if Dawood would be satisfied with her recent fundraising efforts, Kidd said it was not possible to relax.

“Fundraising will never stop. Will continue raising money until election day, and possibly for a runoff. That is what you have to do when you cannot self-finance,” he said.

Kidd, who is one of eight vice-chairpersons of the Fulton County Republican Party, said he is allowed to serve as the unpaid manager in this city election because it is a nonpartisan post.

“I’ve lived in Johns Creek since I was 10 years old, growing up in Rivermont,” he said. “I’ve been involved in campaigns since 1996 when I worked for [state Sen.] Dan Moody.”