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Election 2016: Goldfinch raises $221K in pursuit of Senate seat

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Stephen Goldfinch raised $221,405 in his campaign for the state Senate, with over a third of that coming in during the final weeks, according to a campaign finance report filed last week.

It cost Goldfinch just over $20 a vote to win the District 34 seat over three other candidates in the GOP primary and a runoff last month; a total of $123,179.

Goldfinch said he was prepared to spend more. The total doesn’t include a $100,000 loan the campaign took out at Conway National Bank. That was repaid with $62.33 interest a week before voters went to the polls, and a week after it showed up on his pre-election finance report.

“It was an expensive race,” Goldfinch said. He spent $31,504 on his 2012 campaign for a second term in House District 108, which he won over a challenge from Vida Miller, a former House member.

The biggest single donor to his Senate campaign was the S.C. Association for Justice, a trial lawyer’s group, that made $10,000 in contributions through 10 separate political action committees. Those donations came in after the June 14 primary as Goldfinch prepared for a runoff with Reese Boyd, an attorney who was once his law partner.

“We had to raise three or four times what he raised because his race was paid for by outside special interest groups,” Goldfinch said.

Boyd’s campaign report for the period that ended July 10 was not available this week at the S.C. Ethics Commission website.

Boyd had the support of Gov. Nikki Haley, who said she was disappointed by Goldfinch’s support for raising the gas tax to pay for road repairs. It was one of several races where Haley backed challengers to Republican incumbents.

“People across the state were angry with the governor and her intrusion into our local races,” Goldfinch said. The S.C. Justice PAC donations were a result of the backlash. “I don’t think I called any of them,” he said.

Aside from the loan payment, his biggest expense in the period was $35,923 for a consultant.

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