More than $30,000 for judge’s race?

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Rivals contend Pemberton’s pile of money doesn’t intimidate them

By Damon Lawrence

Finance records show Mike Pemberton’s campaign for circuit court judge raised more than $30,000 from Jan. 7-15.

Impressive, perhaps, but rivals Tom McFarland and Kim Nelson said they are not concerned about his hefty war chest.

“I am focused on my campaign and not what any other candidates are doing,” Nelson said.

“This is February,” McFarland said. “It doesn’t concern me.”

Election Day is Aug. 7.

McFarland, Nelson and Pemberton are vying to replace Russell Simmons Jr.

Simmons announced in November that he is retiring as the circuit court judge for the 9th Judicial District.

Pemberton appears to be winning the fundraising race so far.

In contrast, Nelson’s campaign had raised just $250, according to her finance report filed on Feb. 4.

“I am confident my campaign committee will raise the funds needed to get our message out to the people,” Nelson said.

McFarland has yet to file a report with the state.

“My committee has started raising money,” he said. “I expect to have a significant amount raised by the end of the month.”

McFarland said money will be important for the candidates to get their message out because the 9th Judicial District is spread through Roane, Loudon, Meigs and Morgan counties.

“You may have a lot of name recognition in one county, but in the other counties you’re not as well known,” he said. “You’ll have to get your message out to people who maybe don’t know you personally.”

“That’s why money is important,” McFarland added. “To get your message out, especially in counties where you’re not as well known.”