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PEP donors hedge bets in Young-Lapsley race

Pro-business donors to political campaigns in Henderson County hedged their bets in the District 3 Board of Commissioners race, writing checks to both Commissioner Larry Young and challenger Bill Lapsley.


Members of the Partnership for Economic Progress, including developers, car dealers, oil company owners and construction industry leaders, are active donors in local elections, siding with the candidates they believe will make business-friendly decisions. This year, several PEP donors gave to both Young, a retired auto dealership manager who is seeking his fourth term on the board, and Lapsley, a civil engineer who has helped developed everything from small subdivisions to major industrial sites in 40 years of private practice.
Among the donors who gave to both candidates were plumbing company owner Jack Summey, who gave $250 to each; Reaben Oil Co. president Hall Waddell, who gave $500 to Young and $100 to Lapsley; his son, Beau Waddell, who gave $250 to Young and $500 to Lapsley; Toyota dealer Bryan Easler, who gave $500 to each; and Smiley's Flea Market owner Ben Campen, who gave $100 to each.
Meanwhile, Lapsley appears to have gained from his service on the Pardee Hospital Board of Directors and Young's threats in 2010, according to Lapsley and other Pardee board members, to sell the county-owned facility. Lapsley and former Henderson County Board of Commissioners chairman Bill Moyer say Young threatened to kill the Pardee-Mission joint venture in Fletcher and sell Pardee in a dispute over the Pardee board's delay in allowing Wingate University pharmacy students to intern at the hospital. The controversy faded after the hospital board agreed to accept the Wingate students. In a vote during a meeting that Moyer called in the fall of 2010, the Board of Commissioners resolved in unanimous vote not to sell the county-owned facility.
Lapsley received donations from eight people who are either retired or currently practicing physicians at Pardee or are serving on the board. The contributions totaled $1,150, accounting for just 4.6 percent of Lapsley's campaign total of $24,900.
Lapsley's total contributions more than doubled Young's take of $10,100. Besides $2,000 from himself, Lapsley reported donations totaling $3,500 from his three sons.
Philanthropist Teddi Segal contributed $4,500 to Young's campaign. That single check accounted for nearly half Young's total and was the largest single donation a Board of Commissioners candidate received.
In the District 4 race, challenger Tim Griffin raised $7,802, including $1,933 from donors who gave less than $50 apiece. Griffin's total from small donors was the largest among candidates for the board. Incumbent Tommy Thompson made the biggest bet on himself. He reported contributions of $8,289, including a check he wrote his campaign for $5,500, the largest self-funding amount among seven candidates vying for three seats.
In District 1, challenger Andrew Riddle raised $10,040 while incumbent Michael Edney raised $6,725.
County Commissioner Grady Hawkins donated $150 to both Riddle and Griffin.

If Young holds his seat and either Edney or Thompson is defeated, it is possible that Young could become chairman when the 2014 winners take the oath of office in December. The Board of Commissioners has had several 3-2 votes since Hawkins took office in December 2012, with Hawkins and Young edged by Chairman Charlie Messer, Edney and Thompson.