Sen. Seth Harp’s first campaign disclosure filing in his run for Georgia Commissioner of Insurance shows that he is being heavily backed by current and former Aflac executives and their families.
Harp, a Columbus Republican who announced in March he would leave the Senate to run statewide, raised $23,800 in contributions, according to reports on file with the state Ethics Commission.
The money came from five contributors, all with links to Columbus-based supplemental insurance company Aflac.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Amos contributed $5,700, as did Aflac Inc. President Paul Amos II. Dan Amos’ daughter, Lauren Amos, an Atlanta retail store owner, gave $5,700, and Paul Amos’ wife, Courtney Amos, a Columbus homemaker, gave $5,700.
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The only other reported gift was $1,000 from retired Aflac executive Lee Anderson.
“I didn’t do any effort to raise funds at all,” Harp said Monday after returning from a two-week vacation. “Paul is my campaign manager. He made some calls within the family and you see where the money came from.”
Harp anticipates the strong support from Aflac will likely become an issue later in the campaign.
“It will become an issue in some sense,” he said. “What I have to say to that is I have the support of the largest insurance company in the state and probably the most ethical insurance company in Georgia. I think that speaks highly of my campaign.”
Aflac reaffirmed its support for Harp in a statement from spokesman Jon Sullivan Monday.
“Aflac is based in Columbus. Seth is the state senator from Columbus and he’s now running for statewide office,” the statement read. “The personal support of Aflac executives, given that Seth is a neighbor and friend, should be expected. It simply demonstrates a commitment to our community.”
With the election still a year away, Harp said he will fully launch his fund-raising efforts around Labor Day. Qualifying for the office is not until April, with the primary next July and the General Election in November 2010.
“There will be support from other companies and individuals,” Harp said. “It just isn’t that time yet.”
Harp’s only announced opponent for the Republican nomination, Sen. Ralph T. Hudgens of Hull, raised $80,700 from a broad range of contributors, according to his disclosure report. After expenses, Hudgens has more than $75,000 in his campaign account.
Harp had more than $6,200 in expenses, leaving him more than $17,600 in his campaign account.
Harp and Hudgens both have campaign contribution accounts for the Senate districts. Hudgens has more than $111,000 in his account, while Harp has about $10,500. That money can be converted to another campaign, but first has to be offered back to the contributor.
Harp said it will take considerably more than he has already raised to run the campaign.
“I would like to have between $100,000 and $200,000 by the end of the year, then we will go from there,” he said. “But I think most of the money is going into the governor’s race. It will certainly syphon off the money.”
Incumbent Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine is vacating the office to run for governor.