Davis erases '08 campaign debt with Wednesday night fundraiser in Bluffton

zmurdock@beaufortgazette.comSeptember 25, 2013 

David Hornsby of Okatie, left, speaks with Senator Tom Davis, right, during a fundraiser on Wednesday night at Reeves Catering in Bluffton.

DELAYNA EARLEY — Staff photo Buy Photo

State Senator Tom Davis raised about $120,000 at a fundraiser in Bluffton on Wednesday night, a figure he says will retire the remaining $75,000 he owes from his 2008 run for the District 46 seat.

Davis, R.-Beaufort, incurred about $150,000 in debt during the race against Republican incumbent Catherine Ceips.

The remaining $45,000 raised Wednesday will be used to pay off more than $11,000 in political action committee donations he has returned, Wednesday night's fundraising dinner and what he called other senate expenses.

"I feel like I've come full circle with the whole thing," Davis said. "This is sort of an culmination for me to get back to where I need to be."

Last October, the senator accepted more than $11,000 in donations from political action committees -- something he said he would never do during the 2008 campaign.

"I rationalized it by saying I needed to pay off my campaign debt," Davis said. "But the reality is taking that money was a mistake."

He now says he won't take money from special interest groups.

"If you work hard enough in Beaufort and Jasper counties, these people will support you," Davis said of his constituents.

Republican State Attorney General Alan Wilson attended the event and praised Davis' work in the state senate.

U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford -- Davis worked as chief of staff while Sanford was governor -- was scheduled to attend Wednesday's fundraiser, but instead returned to Washington, D.C. when the U.S. House reconvened.

Beaufort County Councilman Brian Flewelling, who represents Okatie and Shell Point, called donating to the senator a good cause.

"It's about time he get this debt repaid," Flewelling said. "He shouldn't have to try to deal with that going forward."


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Follow reporter Zach Murdock at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach.

Related content:

Beaufort County lawmakers rely more on PAC money, Jan. 22, 2013

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