For candidates, winning positions takes time, money

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 24, 2004

How much does it cost to run for office in Dallas County?

It depends on whether you are an incumbent or challenger, if an incumbent whether you have done a good job, whether you are running for a countywide office or not, how much money the candidate and his or her supporters want to spend, according to Probate Judge Johnny Jones.

Jones has been running – and winning – as along as any politician in Dallas County. He knows as much as anyone in his arena about running for office and how much it costs.

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Jones says the cheapest race is for county commissioner because it only involves contact with one-fourth of the county electorate. He estimates that the county commissioner race will cost a minimum of $2,500. There are also county school board positions and constables. Jones did not comment on the cost of these races.

The next step up, according to Jones, is countywide office such as district judge. To get into that race, the candidate will have to put probably $10,000 on the table for starters.

The most expensive races are circuit judge and district attorney, each involving a five-county area, including Dallas: $25,000 for starters.

“Of course,” Jones said, “you can spend as much as you want, though there are campaign limits for corporations,

and individual contributions of more than $100 must be reported.”

What do candidates spend their money on? “Cards, signs, billboards, radio and television, newspaper ads, tickets to functions that you would really not otherwise be attending, gasoline and shoe leather,”

Jones said.

“I think billboards are a complete waste of money,” Jones said.

Probate Judge Johnny Jones is not up for re-election this year.