Work for 2014 election just beginning, Marsh said; Anniston senator among last to file paperwork
by Tim Lockette
tlockette@annistonstar.com
Aug 26, 2013 | 3135 views |  0 comments | 65 65 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, debates Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, during regular legislative session at the State House in Montgomery. (Photo: AL.com, Julie Bennett/via AP)
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, debates Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, during regular legislative session at the State House in Montgomery. (Photo: AL.com, Julie Bennett/via AP)
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MONTGOMERY – More than two months after fundraising for the 2014 elections began, Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, is among a handful of sitting state senators who have yet to file any campaign finance paperwork.

Marsh said the reason is simple: he's just now starting to raise money.

"As we speak, I'm sitting here filling out the reports," Marsh said in a telephone interview Monday. "We hold our first fundraiser on Sept. 2."

The state unveiled a new electronic system for filing campaign finance reports in June, the product of a 2011 law that requires candidates to report their campaign donations more frequently, and to do so online. Fundraising for the 2014 election began June 3, and so far 91 candidates for the 105-member House and and 30 candidates for the 35-member Senate – almost all of them incumbents – have filed some sort of report in the new system.

Marsh, who so far has no opposition for the Senate seat, said he has been too busy with other tasks this summer to begin fundraising. He said he got his first few checks in recent days and would file a report soon.

Secretary of State spokesman Adam Thompson, said there's no requirement to file any sort of report – even a statement of candidacy – if a candidate's fundraising is below the reporting threshold. (Thompson is himself a candidate, for the position of state auditor.) As of Aug. 1, Thompson said, the reporting threshold in all races is $1,000.

Marsh is the only Anniston-area legislator who hasn't filed any reports in the new system, though some local legislators have merely filed waivers claiming they haven't raised enough money to report since June 3.

Marsh has $27,576 in his war chest, according to his last campaign finance report, filed in January. That report shows that his campaign's largest transaction was a $40,000 loan to the Anniston-based nonprofit Citizens for Fair Representation, which was studying redistricting on behalf of legislators. The group paid back $35,000 of the loan, records show.

The group's chairman, Stanley Nelson, said Citizens for Fair Representation still owes Marsh $5,000. Marsh said he planned to cancel the debt, making a $5,000 gift to the group, if finance law would allow him to.

No challenger has emerged to battle Marsh, the Senate's president pro tem, in the GOP primary. Democrats say they're still searching for a candidate to challenge Marsh for the Senate seat.

Capitol & statewide correspondent Tim Lockette: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.

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