The year was 2001. The country was reeling from the effects of the 9/11 attack and both the Harry Potter and Lord of the Ring franchises had just taken off in film. The iPod was just being released and iTunes was taking off as well. It was also the year that Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines first took the seat. 

This year, Joines is running for his seventh term in office; Joines is the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history. He also runs the Winston-Salem Alliance, a nonprofit development corporation that he joined in 2000 just before winning his first mayoral election. As the organization’s president, Joines makes $217,506 annually.

As part of our election coverage, TCB dug into Joines’ campaign finance donations to see who is backing the longtime incumbent.

So far Joines has gleaned $110,000 in donations this election cycle, from 70 total supporters who reside all over the state, from Bald Head Island to Charlotte to Raleigh. The donations ranged from $100 to $5,000.

Data gleaned from the campaign finance reports, which are public information, shows that the primary profile of a donor to Joines’ campaign is male, white and upper class.

A dive into the job titles and industries in which the donors work reflects powerful players with high salaries including the former CEO of RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co., the current CEO of Flow Companies, CEO of Frank L. Blum Construction Company, the former president of Wake Forest University, as well as various executive employees of Quality Oil.

The average Joines supporter’s house is valued at $1.2 million, ranging from $329,000 to $4.7 million, based on real estate websites like Zillow and Joines’ own home in the West Ward, which he bought in 2015 for $355,000, is now worth $659,900 according to Zillow.

TCB reached out to Mayor Joines for comment prior to publishing this piece. In an email to TCB, Joines wrote, “I don’t believe there should be any concern about my supporters.

“Most are successful business men and women who feel that I have led the city effectively and they want stable, qualified leadership to continue.”

Joines added that his support base includes “many African American pastors and other neighborhood leaders” who “encouraged” him to run again. During his campaign announcement in March 2023, Joines surrounded himself with Black leaders such as Bishop Sir Walter Mack and Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough.

But Joines’ financial backers are mostly white. Of the 70, 65 are white, three are Black and one is Asian. Again, one was unable to be identified. Fifty-five of his backers are male and 13 are female, and another was undesignated.

Joines added that he has “worked hard to ensure that all segments of the city are well represented on boards and commissions and have easy access to me.”

As part of this story, TCB also looked up the campaign finance information for Joines’ opponents JoAnne Allen and Frankie Gist. The only recorded donations Allen has received have been loans from herself, and she has a Cash App account set up. On Facebook, she has posted that she doesn’t accept any money from “lobbyists or corporations.” Gist hasn’t received any donations so far either.

Primary Election Day is on Tuesday, March 5. Find your polling location information here.



  • White: 65
  • Black: 3
  • Asian: 1
  • Unidentified: 1


  • Male: 55
  • Female: 13
  • Undesignated: 1
  • Unidentified: 1


The city is split up into eight wards, but lack of investment, redlining, roadways, urban renewal and more have lavished great success upon the west side of town and disenfranchised the east. Sixty-five percent of Joines’ city resident supporters live in the West Ward while 17 percent live in the Northwest Ward. One supporter lives in the North Ward and another hails from the East Ward.

Editor’s note: These numbers reflect those who live in Winston-Salem only.

  • West: 35 (65 percent)
  • Northwest: 17 (32 percent)
  • East: 1 (2 percent)
  • North: 1 (2 percent)
A map of where Joines’ donors live (by Dan Rose)


While a large majority hail from Winston-Salem, TCB’s reporting found that most of Joines’ donors are largely concentrated in the west side of the city in the 27104 and 27106 zip codes.

  • 27104: 30 (about 43%) of total
  • 27106: 24 (about 34%) of total
  • The other 23 percent live in other zip codes:
  • 27408: 2
  • 27023: 2
  • 27040: 2
  • 27101: 1
  • 27105: 1
  • 27262: 1
  • 27006: 1
  • 27292: 1
  • 28117: 1
  • 28210: 1
  • 28461: 1
  • 28303: 1
  • 27162: 1


By analyzing voter records on the state’s voter registration portal, TCB found that the political affiliations of Joines’ supporters were split up almost evenly between Democrats, Republicans and those who are unaffiliated.

Editor’s note: TCB could not find one of the donors in the state’s voter registration portal.

  • Democrat: 28
  • Republican: 21
  • Unaffiliated: 20
  • Unidentified: 1


Don Flow – $5,000 

Owner and CEO of Flow Companies

Flow is the automotive mogul heading Flow Companies, which operates more than 40 dealerships in North Carolina and Virginia. He received his MBA from Wake Forest University in the ‘80s and has had a hand in multiple local boards including the Piedmont Triad Partnership, the UNC School of the Arts’ board of trustees, Winston-Salem Business, Inc. and was chairman of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist’s board of directors. Coincidentally, he’s also the chairman of the Winston-Salem Alliance. Many of the organization’s board members have donated thousands to his campaign, including:

  • Marie Arcuri: $1,000
  • Novant Health physician David Branch: $2,000
  • Hanesbrands executive James “Jerry” Cook: $1,000
  • Retired Piedmont Triad Partnership Executive Stan Kelly: $1,000
  • Mercedes Benz dealer David Neill: $2,000
  • Cook Medical Vice President Scott Sewell: $250
  • Front Street Capital executive Coleman Team: $2,000
  • IL Long Construction President Edwin Welch: $2,000 
  • Former Hanes Co. President Ralph Womble: $2,000

Joines has worked closely with Flow for years, calling him the “quintessential behind-the-scenes leader.”

Flow’s home is valued at $1.3 million according to Zillow, and he’s registered as unaffiliated on the state’s voter registration portal.

F. Hudnall Christopher – $4,000 

Former RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. director

Christopher, 90, headed the tobacco manufacturing company in the ‘70s and ‘80s and served as the former chairman of PTI during the ‘90s and ‘00s. He’s also a board member of the Winston-Salem Alliance. Hudnall was one of the Reynolds executives who expanded the company’s production into Tobaccoville — and eventually out of Winston-Salem. He also played a major role in downsizing the company’s employees in the ‘80s.

Christopher’s home is valued at $982,400 according to Zillow, and he’s a registered Republican.

John Clarke Whitaker, Jr. – $2,000 

Founder of Inmar Enterprises

Whitaker is the founder of Inmar Enterprises, and the son of former RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company board chairman John Clarke Whitaker and grandson of William Whitaker, a major in the Confederate army. 

John Clarke Whitaker, Sr. was the lead negotiator for RJR during the 1940s, when a Black-led labor union of tobacco workers (Local 22) made demands for better wages, benefits and working conditions. Whitaker led the company’s effort to resist these demands. By the end of the 1940s, the union had made significant gains, but Whitaker played a key role in its demise, as documented by Roger Korstad in his book Civil Rights Unionism

The Republican’s home is worth $2.5 million according to Zillow.

Andrew Schindler – $2,000

Former CEO of RJ Reynolds

Schindler joined RJR in 1974 and was elected chairman, president and CEO of the company in 1999. In those days, he thought that tobacco and RJ Reynolds still had a promising future. “My view, (is) the product, as long as it’s legal, will be here,” he told the Winston-Salem Journal in 1999.

Schindler is an unaffiliated voter and his home is worth $4.7 million according to Zillow.

Anthony Atala, MD – $2,000

Wake Forest University

Atala is the G. Link Professor and Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine as well as the chair of the Department of Urology at Wake Forest School of Medicine. He’s also the editor of three journals, has published more than 800 journal articles and collected multiple awards during his career.

Atala’s home is worth $2.1 million according to Zillow, and he’s an unaffiliated voter.

Nathan Hatch – $2,000

Former president of Wake Forest University

Hatch sat at the helm of the prestigious university for more than 15 years. In 2017, when Don Flow acquired the former GMAC Tower building, now 500 West Fifth, to create space for other enterprises such as Winston Starts, which aimed focus on providing opportunities for students at local universities and colleges to create companies, Hatch said, “Wake Forest University is very excited about the opportunity to participate with Don Flow in making Winston-Salem an entrepreneurial center. With the support of mentors and investors from the community and the Wake Forest network, we envision that many of our very entrepreneurial students will work on the start-up ventures at Winston Starts and continue to scale them up after graduation.” 

He’s a Democrat and his house is worth $1 million according to Zillow.

Jose Isasi – $2,000 

Owner and publisher of Qué Pasa Media

Qué Pasa Media received $386,150 in local fiscal recovery funds provided as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and media mogul Isasi has a long history with the city. He’s received millions of dollars in loans and funding from the city. In February 2015, the council voted to give nearly $825,000 to Isasi for Southeast Plaza. According to reporting from the Winston-Salem Journal, the vote was 5-3 in favor of the new spending, and it “looked for a while as though Mayor Allen Joines might have to break a tie.” Isasi gave Joines’ campaign $5,000 in August 2015 during that year’s election. Isasi then sold the building for $8.45 million in 2023.

Isasi also received city loans for an upscale housing development and asked for extensions on payback.

He’s an unaffiliated voter and his house is worth nearly $1 million according to Zillow.

Lee Chaden – $2,000

Former CEO of Hanesbrands Inc.

For nearly 20 years, Chaden headed the billion-dollar clothing company, before retiring in 2007. He was also on the board of the Reynolda House Museum of American Art.

His home is worth more than $1.8 million and he’s a registered Democrat.

J. McLain Wallace – $1,000

Chief Legal Counsel of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist

Wallace the senior vice president and general counsel of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. He received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Wake Forest University and his juris doctorate from the Wake Forest University School of Law.

Oh, and he’s pictured in the school’s 1984 yearbook standing in front of a giant Confederate flag with his fraternity.

Wallace doesn’t appear to be registered to vote, and his house is worth more than $1 million.

Lenin “Lenny” Peters – $1,000

The High Point-based physician is also a real estate developer. He’s a registered Republican, Christian fundamentalist, and has written books Barefoot to Benefactor and Peters’ Principles of Success. He also runs a nonprofit, the Lenny Peters Foundation, that he claims to run orphanages around the world with. In 2021, the foundation gleaned $427,500 in contributions.

His house is worth more than $1 million.

Other powerful and prominent individuals who popped up in our search

Mike Lancaster and Drew Hancock, top executives with Frank L. Blum Construction donated $2,000 each to Joines’ campaign. Lancaster is on the board of Winston-Salem Alliance.

Shelco executive Barry Gardner also donated $2,000, and Gayle Anderson, who donated $500, is the former head of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.

Joines also has multiple donors with ties to the fossil fuel industry. Quality Oil President James “Jim” Bennett and the company’s CEO Graham Bennett (Quality Oil CEO) are brothers. Jim donated $500 and Graham, who is also on the board of Winston-Salem Alliance, donated $3,000. Their sister Ann Bennett-Phillips donated $500.

Joines has donors spread across the healthcare sector, particularly with Novant and Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist. AHWFB’s president Julie Ann Freischlag, MD donated $2,000 and she’s on Winston-Salem Alliance’s board of directors. So is UNC Health President and former Novant Executive Vice President Jeffery Todd  Lindsay, who donated $2,000. Harvey and Harold Kennedy III, attorneys with Kennedy Law Firm, donated $1,000 each.

Dr. Dan Rose, an associate professor of sociology with Winston-Salem State University and organizer with local activism group Housing Justice Now, contributed to this report.

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