Charles Garrett has taken his message to the streets in an effort to defeat incumbent Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford in the upcoming Democratic primary, campaign finance records show.
The outgoing Atlantic County freeholder already has spent about $16,000 - more than half of his expenses so far - on street work, mailings and "get out the vote" initiatives, according to the latest report filed with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission. That includes $6,550 on veteran campaigner Marcus Wilson.
Garrett and retired PBA President Dave Davidson Jr. are challenging the mayor for the Democratic nod in the mayoral race, with Don Guardian running as the only Republican candidate. Reports were due May 6 - 29 days before the election - although Davidson's was not yet available through ELEC. His filing in April showed his opponents have raised more than 20 times the $2,213 Davidson reported at that time.
Garrett was given an advantage when the county party gave him the party line, meaning he will have the prime ballot position in the June 4 primary. Langford's campaign said they knew that was likely and are banking on the mayor's record and ties to the community.
"We don't believe that line is going to make or break this election," Langford's campaign manager, Michael Harvey, said Monday.
Langford has raised about $49,000 so far, about $7,000 less than Garrett.
Two of Langford's biggest individual contributors were Mike Tyson and his wife, Lakiha, who each gave $2,500 to the campaign, just $100 less than the maximum. Earlier this month it was reported that Langford wrote Tyson a character reference last year when the boxer was trying to get a travel visa to New Zealand. He was denied.
"(Langford) met Mike when he first started coming to Atlantic City to fight," Harvey said. "They're very cordial. I think it's a good thing to have Mike Tyson's support."
Langford also apparently has the support of the city's fire chief, who donated $1,000 to the campaign. Davidson's largest contributor so far is the Atlantic City firefighters political action committee, which contributed $500.
Expenses show Garrett's get-out-the-vote efforts are led by Wilson, who has long led such campaign drives, dating to when Craig Callaway was a major political player in the city. Records show payments to Wilson include just more than $1,500 every two weeks since March.
Garrett's campaign did not return calls and emails seeking comment.
Meanwhile, Guardian has raised just less than $1,700, including a $1,000 loan from the candidate for startup money. But since he is unopposed in the primary, his campaign has time to progress.
While Langford has spent only about $300 to get out the vote, with a meeting, Harvey said the campaign has been knocking on doors and putting out literature on the mayor. Two radio ads are also running.
Staff writer Derek Harper contributed to this report.
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