The Power is Now

Kilgore gets real estate money – Mountain Xpress

Contributions from real estate interests made up nearly half of the money given to one City Council member’s campaign this year. But they came in a race for the state Senate seat representing most of Buncombe County, not for Council.

At least $8,318 of the $17,289 in contributions received by Council member Sandra Kilgore’s campaign for state Senate District 49 came from people in the real estate industry, usually agents or investors, or their family members. Most notable were the $5,600 Kilgore got from the N.C. Realtors Political Action Committee, the maximum allowed in a primary, and $1,500 from local real estate investor Chris Peterson, a former Council member who regularly criticizes what he sees as City Council’s too-liberal ways.

Kilgore is a Realtor. The Realtors PAC often opposes more government rules on housing in the halls of the state General Assembly and has supported a bill that would limit local governments’ ability to regulate short-term rentals.

Kilgore lost the Democratic primary to incumbent Sen. Julie Mayfield, taking 20.7% of the vote compared with Mayfield’s 68.2%. (The remainder of votes went to hemp entrepreneur Taylon Breeden.) Mayfield, the co-director of Asheville-based environmental advocacy group MountainTrue, had raised $66,339 from a variety of sources as of the end of June.

Another contribution to Kilgore — event space rental and related services valued at $3,532 and listed by her campaign as donated by the Element Asheville Downtown hotel — is likely to receive scrutiny from the State Board of Elections. State law bans donations to candidates from corporations.

State Board of Elections spokesman Patrick Gannon says the board typically seeks more information from campaigns in cases in which audits find corporate contributions, including asking whether the donation actually came from the business’s owner. Himanshu Karvir, a past chair of the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, heads the company that runs the Element hotel.



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