Hundreds of thousands of dollars from Alabama’s richest person and a group of Tuscaloosa-based political action committees are fueling the race for governor as the campaign enters its final three months.
Incumbent Republican Gov. Kay Ivey and Democratic challenger Walt Maddox, mayor of Tuscaloosa, have gotten most of their campaign money from PACs, businesses and other groups since the campaign began last year. Ivey reported $4.97 million in cash contributions and Maddox listed $1.38 million in reports filed late last week with the Secretary of State’s Office.
Ivey’s contributions consist of 39 percent from individuals, 31 percent from PACs and 30 percent from groups and businesses. Maddox reported 44 percent from individuals, 38 percent from PACs and 18 percent from groups and businesses.
The heaviest hitters so far are a group of six PACs chaired by Michael Echols of Tuscaloosa. Together, those six PACs have given $403,400, almost one-third of his collections, to Maddox.
Echols, 66, a 1974 graduate of the University of Alabama, is the owner of Echols, Taylor & Associates PC, according to records from the Secretary of State’s Office. He also is listed as a member of Franklin Resources Group LLC of Montgomery, a lobbying and public affairs group organized by longtime lobbyist Johnny Crawford and Ryan DeGraffenfied III.
PACs operated by Echols have been involved in Tuscaloosa politics, including heavy funding for city Board of Education candidates in 2013, according to The Tuscaloosa News.
The candidates’ financial reports show Ivey ended July with a cash balance of $271,476 in her campaign account and Maddox with $313,248 in his account.
The biggest contributor to Ivey’s campaign is Jimmy Rane, owner of Great Southern Wood Preserving of Abbeville, a town of about 2,600 in the southeastern corner of Alabama. He has donated a total of $300,000.
Rane, who is widely known as “Yella Fella” in television commercials for his company, has been listed by Forbes Magazine as Alabama’s richest person, with a net wort of $950 million. Rane has been a member of the Auburn University trustees since 1999 and holds a degree in business from Auburn and a law degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. He is an enthusiastic supporter of Auburn football, and his foundation has awarded hundreds of scholarships over the past few years.
The Echols PACs are Cash PAC, Leadership PAC, ET PAC, CMG PAC II, T-Town PAC II and Pride PAC II, which have been major players in this year’s statewide and legislative elections. Businesses, law firms and individuals have given to several of those PACs.
Extreme Development Inc. of Warrior has given a total of $467,500 to the six PACs. David Lawrence of Warrior is president of the company and Larry Mayes of Trimble in Cullman County is its agent, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
Angus Capital Corp. of Birmingham contributed $330,000 to the Echols PACs; the Beasley Allen law firm of Montgomery, $330,000; Hare, Winn law firm of Birmingham, $222,000; Birmingham lawyer David Marsh, $195,000; and Cunningham Bounds law firm of Mobile, $180,000.
The six Echols PACs have been active in other races on this year’s ballot. They contributed $1.16 million to former state Attorney General Troy King in his unsuccessful campaign to reclaim the office. King lost to Steve Marshall in a GOP runoff.
The PACs also gave $904,500 to the campaign of Supreme Court candidate Sarah Stewart. She defeated Brad Mendheim in the Republican runoff last month and is unopposed in the November general election.
In addition, the Echols PACs gave $87,000 to Ivey’s campaign.
The Echols PACs have been Maddox’s largest contributors so far. Each of them has given more than any other single contributor to his campaign.
After Rane’s contributions of $300,000, the top supporters of Ivey’s campaign are the Beasley Allen law firm of Montgomery, $105,000; Franklin PAC of Montgomery and Huntsville developer Louis W. Breland, $100,000 each; and Breland Homes LLC of Huntsville, $95,000.
Beasley Allen, founded in 1979 by former Lt. Gov. Jere L. Beasley, has shown in in contributions lists for years, this year most notably with its $330,000 contributions to the Echols PACs and $105,000 to the Ivey campaign.
The firm has been involved in a number of high-profile lawsuits. It was involved, along with lawyers for the state and for the Cunningham Bounds firm of Mobile, in a 2003 trial that resulted in a $11.8 billion judgment for the state of Alabama against ExxonMobil for cheating Alabama out of natural gas royalties. It has won large judgments in environmental, Medicaid fraud, pharmaceuticals and other cases nationwide.
Following are individuals, political action committees, businesses and other groups that had contributed $5,000 or more to gubernatorial candidates Kay Ivey and Walt Maddox by Aug. 2.
$300,000 – James W. Rane, Abbeville.
$105,000 – Beasley Allen law firm, Montgomery.
$100,000 – Franklin PAC, Montgomery; Louis W. Breland, Huntsville.
$95,000 – Breland Homes LLC, Huntsville.
$75,000 – Raymond J. Harbert, Birmingham; Roy H. Drinkard, Cullman.
$61,000 – BIZPAC, Montgomery.
$60,000 – MCG PAC, Birmingham.
$51,000 – Alabama Power Co. Employees State PAC, Birmingham.
$50,000 – Bankpac, Montgomery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, Birmingham; Volkert Inc., Mobile; Warren J. Williamson, Greenville.
$42,000 – AT&T Alabama PAC, Montgomery.
$40,000 – Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP Alabama State PAC, Birmingham; Truk PAC, Montgomery.
$37,500 – CAREPAC, Montgomery.
$35,000 – Loretta P. Spencer, Huntsville; State Farm Agents and Associates of Alabama PAC, Tuscaloosa; Wayne T. Smith, Nashville.
$30,000 – Aga Sack PAC, Birmingham; CMG PAC II, Tuscaloosa; Drummond Company Inc., Birmingham; Ozark Striping Co. Inc, Enterprise; Progress PAC, Montgomery; R.B. Johnson, Hanceville.
$28,500 – ABC Merit PAC, Birmingham.
$27,000 – The Innovation PAC, Montgomery.
$25,000 – Alabama Forestry PAC, Montgomery; Alabama Medical PAC, Montgomery; Alabama Realtors PAC, Montgomery; Angus R. Cooper III, Mobile; Beverly Starr, Auburn; Cemex Inc. Employees PAC, Houston, TX; EDUPAC, Tuscaloosa; Forestry PAC, Montgomery; Georgia Crown Distributing Co., McDonough, GA; Gulf Distributing Holdings LLC, Mobile; Jake F. Aronov, Atlanta; James Starr, Auburn; James W. Wilson III, Montgomery; McWane Inc., Birmingham; Reed Contracting Services, Union Grove; Regions Bank, Birmingham; Regions Bank Accounts Payable, Birmingham; Smart Living LLC, Huntsville; United-Johnson Brothers of Alabama LLC, Bessemer; Wiregrass Construction Co. Inc., Dothan.
$20,000 – Alabama Nursing Home Association CAREPAC, Montgomery; Alabama Builders PAC (ABPAC), Montgomery; Alabama Farmers Federation PAC, Montgomery; Alabama Poultry Trust, Montgomery; American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc., Bessemer; Comcast Corp., Philadelphia, PA; Energen Corp. PAC, Birmingham; F&P LLC, Montgomery; Global Rental Co. Inc., Birmingham; Goodwyn Mills and Cawood PAC, Montgomery; Kelly Road Builders, Birmingham; ProgressPAC, Montgomery; Swaid N. Swaid, Birmingham; The Committee For Good Government; Trial-Trust Representing Involved Alabama Lawyers, Montgomery.
$17,500 – Tim Parker, Tuscaloosa.
$16,000 – Sally Lambert, Huntsville.
$15,000 – Alabama Acre, Montgomery; Alabama Automobile Dealers Association of Alabama Inc. Auto PAC, Montgomery; Alabama Hospital Association PAC, Montgomery; Alabama Lenders PAC, Birmingham; ALAPAC, Montgomery; David B. Reed, Montgomery; David J. Cooper Sr., Mobile; Elder PAC, Montgomery; Eli Lilly and Co. PAC, Indianapolis, IN; FGAPAC, Montgomery; Goodwyn Mills & Cawood, Montgomery; Gumbo PAC, Foley; M. Clark Sahlie, Montgomery; Protective Life Corp. Birmingham; SHR PAC, Montgomery; Steven H. Stokes, Dothan; Vulcan Materials Co. PAC, Birmingham; William B. Sexton, Decatur.
$13,000 – Concrete PAC, Montgomery.
$12,500 – Alabama Beverage Association PAC, Montgomery; AWBA PAC, Montgomery; R. Frank Brown, Cullman; W.D. Malone Jr., Dothan; W. Davis Malone III, Dothan; T-Town PAC II, Tuscaloosa.
$12,000 – Alabama Associated General Contractors Inc.-PAC, Irondale; Pride PAC II, Tuscaloosa.
$11,000 – Bipac, Montgomery.
$10,000 – ACPA-AL PAC, Montgomery; Alabama Optometric PAC, Montgomery; Alawest AL LLC, Northport; Arista Aviation, Enterprise; Automobile Dealers Association of Alabama Inc. Auto PAC, Montgomery; Bartley McCorquodale, Montgomery; Benjamin Russell, Alexander City; Cash PAC, Tuscaloosa;Charles C. Anderson, Florence; Charter Communications, St. Louis, Mo; COMPAC, Mobile; Credit Union Coalition of Alabama, Montgomery; David J. Cooper, Mobile; Dentaquest PAC Alabama, Nashville; East Alabama Paving Co. Inc., Opelika; Eastern Shore Toyota, Daphne; Edward K. Aldag, Birmingham; Fate Watson Jones, Camden; First Decade PAC, Montgomery; Garver LLC, N. Little Rock, AR; Grandview Medical Center, Birmingham; Hargrove, Mobile; Higher Education Leadership PAC, Montgomery; His PAC, Opelika; Hwaseung Automotive Alabama LLC, Enterprise; J.M. Wood Auction, Montgomery; Jake F. Aronov, Montgomery; James K. Lowder, Montgomery; Jerry C. Kyser, Montgomery; Jim L. Ridling, Pike Road; Jimmy Pursell, Sylacauga; Joel R. Anderson, Florence; John H. Watson, Dothan; John White-Spunner, Daphne; Leadership PAC, Tuscaloosa; Linda J. Smith, Huntsville; Mainstream PAC, Montgomery; Mark J. Tarr, Mountain Brook; Owen Aronov, Montgomery; Protective Life Corp. State PAC, Birmingham; Rai Services Co., Winston-Salem, NC; Reid B. Dove, Dothan; Retailers of Alabama PAC, Montgomery; Robert Hutson, Birmingham; Roddy L. McKinney, Vestavia; Saintfield Holdings LLC, Birmingham; SAVEPAC, Montgomery; SE & Associates Management Group Inc., Daphne; Secure PAC, Montgomery; Spire Alabama Inc., Birmingham; Terry Anderson, Florence; The Cosby Co., Selma; The Yates Companies Inc., Philadelphia; Thompson Engineering Inc., Mobile; Timothy N. McInnis II, Orange Beach; W. Stancil Starnes, Mountain Brook; W. Daniel Hughes Jr., Montgomery; Whitaker Contracting Corp., Guntersville; Xtreme Concepts Inc., Birmingham.
$8,500 – KW Plastics, Troy; Phil Webb, Anniston.
$7,500 – Alabama Citizens For Conservative Government, Gadsden; American Cast Iron Pipe Co., Birmingham; AT&T, Hoover; Butler Snow PAC, Ridgeland; Cadence Bank NA PAC, Birmingham; ET PAC, Tuscaloosa; Leroy McAbee Sr., Tuscaloosa; Lester Howard Killebrew, Abbeville.
$6,500 – Sun PAC, Mobile.
$6,000 – CenturyTel Inc., Monroe, LA; Gaines Lanier, West Point, GA; Knowles & Sullivan LLC, Gadsden; MAY PAC, Birmingham; Senior Care Pharmacy Inc., Northport; Troy Cablevision Inc., Troy.
$5,500 – Harris Morrissette, Saraland.
$5,000 – Alabama Dental PAC, Montgomery; Alabama Development PAC, Birmingham; Alan Hall, Birmingham; Allen C. Harris, Opelika; Baker Donelson PAC, Birmingham; Ben Beard, Troy; Bill Jackson, Montgomery; Brett Real Estate Robinson Development Co. Inc., Saraland; Brett-Robinson Gulf Corp., Gulf Shores; Bruno Event Team LLC, Birmingham; Burr & Forman LLP, Birmingham; Burt Holdings LLC, Vance; Carolyn Featheringill, Mountain Brook; Cathy Randall, Tuscaloosa; Charles E. Watts Inc., Gadsden; Chester McKinney, Muscle Shoals; Chilton County Contractors Inc., Clanton; Coca-Cola Bottling Co. United Inc., Birmingham; Columbia Southern University Inc., Orange Beach; David H. Marsh, Birmingham; Davita, Tacoma, WA; Dick L. Brewbaker, Montgomery; Dunn Construction Co. Inc., Birmingham; Eddie Stewart, Montgomery; ENPAC, Birmingham; F. Watson Jones, Camden; FAXPAC, Montgomery; G2lytics, Brentwood, TN; Gary Ingram, Dadeville; Gregory T. Abramson, Vestavia; H&L Construction Inc., Troy; H.O. Weaver & Sons Inc., Mobile; Haas Strother, Camden; Hangout Hospitality Group, Gulf Shores; Ikaros LLC, Tuscaloosa; International Paper PAC, Washington, DC; J. Norman Estes, Northport; J.W. Nall III, Atlanta, GA; J.M. Wood Auction Co. Inc., Montgomery; James F. Griffeth, Spanish Fort; James P. Cowin, Birmingham; Jeffrey Coleman, Dothan; Jim L. Ridling, Pike Road; Jobs PAC, Montgomery; Joe Ritch, Huntsville; John C. Dobbs, Vestavia; John C. Stanley, Montgomery; John G. Walton, Mobile; Jonathan R. Tullos, Enterprise; Jones Walker LLP, Mobile; Joseph Forest Enterprises Inc., Columbiana; Kenneth D. Benton, Dearmanville; Koch Industries Inc., Wichita, KS; LEGPAC, Montgomery; Lisa R. Jernigan, Birmingham; Mark Seeley, Brownsboro; MAXPAC, Montgomery; Michael D. Schmitz, Dothan; Michael J. Vinson, Montgomery; MKA Properties LLC, Northport; Mobile Asphalt Co. LLC, Mobile; Mountain Brook Associates LLP, Birmingham; Newell Roadbuilders Inc., Hope Hull; NEWPAC, Montgomery; Northport Health Services Inc., Tuscaloosa; Nucor PAC, Decatur; Patrick F. Lynch, Mobile; Peco Foods Inc., Tuscaloosa; Pfizer Inc., Memphis, TN; Premier Kings Inc., Montgomery; Remlap Properties LLC, Huntsville; Richard C. Sullivan 01, Mobile; Ricky D. Mobley, Wetumpka; Roddy L. McKinney II, Birmingham; Ron Drinkard Group LLC, Montgomery; Ronald G. Bruno, Birmingham; Ryan Degraffenried III, Tuscaloosa; Scott Bridge Co. Inc., Opelika; Scott Drummond, Tuscaloosa; Southern Strategy Group PAC, Montgomery; TELPAC, Montgomery; Terry Everett, Rehobeth; Thomas A. Sharp, Huntsville; Thomas E. Jernigan Jr., Birmingham; Thomas J. Joiner, Tuscaloosa; Todd Ouellette, Muscle Shoals; Troy PAC, Montgomery; Truckworx Inc., Waller Alabama PAC, Birmingham; Westrock, Norcross, GA; William E. Wallace, Pike Road.
$86,000 – Cash PAC, Tuscaloosa.
$80,750 – Leadership PAC, Tuscaloosa.
$77,250 – ET PAC, Tuscaloosa.
$72,400 – CMG PAC II, Tuscaloosa.
$45,850 – T-Town PAC II, Tuscaloosa.
$41,150 – Pride PAC II, Tuscaloosa.
$40,000 – GreeneTrack Inc., Eutaw.
$30,000 – Gina Miers, Tuscaloosa.
$26,000 – ABC Merit PAC, Birmingham.
$25,000 – Michael Goodrich, Birmingham.
$15,500 – Tuscaloosa Firefighters Public Relation Fund, Tuscaloosa.
$15,470 – Cynthia Rhoden, Birmingham
$15,000 – Don and Sandy Logan, Birmingham.
$12,500 – Tim Harrison, Tuscaloosa.
$11,000 –T PAC, Montgomery.
$10,470 – Cynthia Rhoden, Birmingham.
$10,000 – The Builders Group, Tuscaloosa; Environmental Litigation Group PC, Birmingham; G.S. Miers Family LLC, Tuscaloosa; Credit Union Coalition of Alabama, Montgomery; Andrew Campbell, Mountain Brook.
$7,500 – Doug Hollyhand, Northport; Leroy McAbee, Northport; Rhed Holding Co. LLC, Tuscaloosa.
$6,250 – Frank McPhillips, Birmingham.
$5,500 – Farris, Rile & Pitt, Birmingham.
$5,400 – Cummings Leasing LLC, Tuscaloosa.
$5,000 – Cadence Bank NA PAC, Birmingham; CBA Properties LLC, Tuscaloosa; The Committee for Good Government, Birmingham; Cynthia Ferguson Rhoden, Birmingham; Donald Hess, Birmingham; Ernest Rogers, Birmingham; J.T. Stephens, Birmingham; Mann & Potter PC, Birmingham; Neil E. Davis, Birmingham; Nucor PAC, Decatur; Parker Griffith, Huntsville; Peco Foods Inc., Tuscaloosa; Taylor Martino PC, Mobile; Keith Owens, Maylene; IBEW PAC Voluntary Fund, Washington, DC; Gillian Goodrich, Birmingham; Dianne Baker, Tuscaloosa; David and Jenny Pass, Tuscaloosa; Burr & Forman LLP, Birmingham; Bank PAC, Montgomery; Ball Healthcare-Roanoke Inc., Mobile; Alabama AFL/CIO PAC, Montgomery; ACULA, Birmingham.