An earlier review of the two candidates’ campaign finance reports revealed that candidate Dean received $14,000 from the political action committee NetPac. Some big-name Republicans are known for managing or donating to the PAC. However, Dean said if it was an endorsement of sorts of his campaign, he was unaware of it.
“I had no idea that (state Republican chairman) Mike Hubbard had anything to do with that PAC, and I had no idea that (U.S. Rep.) Mike Rogers, (R-Saks), had anything to do with that PAC,” Dean said. “I don’t think it says anything about my campaign.”
PACs are funded by multiple sources and are commonly used to fund political campaigns but PAC-to-PAC transfers, the practice by which one PAC gives to another, has made it difficult to determine just who is supporting candidates.
Both candidates say they would like to see the PAC-to-PAC transfers eliminated.
“I am campaigning for greater transparency in government and oppose the use of PACs to hide the original source of campaign contributions,” Crawford said. “(Dean’s) position is the same, but he has benefited immensely.”
Crawford’s campaign did not receive money from a PAC but instead collected money from family members, the community and local business leaders.
Dean said he, too, opposes PAC-to-PAC transfers and wants, like Crawford, to implement ethics reforms if elected. Those reforms would include elevating the transfers, but he stood by his donation from NetPac.
Although NetPac records reveal PAC-to-PAC transfers, there is no indication that Dean’s campaign contribution from NetPac was the direct result of one of those transfers.
“I received money from NetPac, which is a pro-small business PAC,” Dean said. “It doesn’t change or influence me to be a pro-small business candidate because I’m already a pro-small business candidate.”
In addition to supporting ethics reform, Dean said if elected, he would support legislation that would benefit small businesses.
“My platform is promoting small business, creating jobs and ethical reform in Montgomery,” Dean said. “If you want to create more revenue for the state, let’s start by creating jobs.”
But Crawford, who said he supports traditional conservative values, said he has had a hard time making the election an issues-based campaign. He, too, wants to create jobs and implement ethics reform.
“I can not comment on his candidacy due to the fact that he has failed to tell us where he stands on the issues we are facing in this election. He has never released any type of official platform,” Crawford said.
He stated that Dean was invited to participate in a public debate with him, but declined. Dean said he declined because the organization that invited him had publicly endorsed his opponent.
“They said visit our website and you can find out more about it and I found out that the caucus has already endorsed my opponent,” Dean said. “I don’t see a point in participating in a debate that they sponsor, so I said no.”
But Crawford said Dean would have been given considerable control over the debate.
“He was given the opportunity to select both the location and the moderator,” Crawford said. “It was in no way a quote-unquote ‘setup.’”
Dean and Crawford are both new to the political arena.
“I’ve got a new respect for all candidates who enter the public arena because you’re really dangling yourself out there,” Dean said.
A runoff between the pair became necessary when neither of the two candidates received 50 percent of the vote in the June primary, in which Donald Wood also contended for the Republican ticket. District 35 voters who want to weigh in on the matter can cast their ballots Tuesday during the statewide runoff elections.
Contact staff writer Laura Johnson at 256-235-3544.