Campaign News
July 13, 2009

Early Financial Reports Point to Hot Contests in 2010

Hastings Wyman   ·  Southern Political Report

The official deadline for disclosing the Federal Election Commission (FEC) 2nd Quarter financial reports isn’t until July 15, but some of the candidates and “explorers” have already released their numbers and they offer an early view of some of the coming 2010 contests.
Alabama: In the 7th District (Birmingham, etc.) Democratic contest to replace US Rep. Artur Davis, who is stepping down to run for governor, early entrant Terri Sewell, a Selma native who practices law in Birmingham, reported raising $167,000 in the 2nd Quarter, more money, she said in a release, than has ever been raised by a challenger or open-seat candidate in the state’s history. Sewell now has $247,000 cash-on-hand. She may need that and more, however, because she will be in a crowded field that includes Birmingham lawyer and political consultant (who managed three campaigns for Davis) Martha Bozeman; state Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr., son of a former 7th District congressman; Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr.; Jefferson County Commissioner Shelia Smoot; and Tuscaloosa businessman Eddison Walters. The district is safely Democratic.
Arkansas: Seven-term US Rep. Vic Snyder (D-AR) who represents the 2nd District (Little Rock, etc.), has reported raising zero dollars for the second quarter in a row. Snyder has a policy of only raising money in an election year, and always brings in enough to handily defeat any GOPer who comes up against him (77% in 2008). This go-round, the National Republican Congressional Committee has put him on a list of allegedly vulnerable Democrats whose votes for various Obama-backed proposals might get them in trouble, but that hasn’t caused Snyder to change his fundraising practices. He does have one Republican opponent so far, Army veteran David Meeks. In addition, GOP leaders in Little Rock are hoping to recruit banker French Hill to run. Washington’s The Hill newspaper recently included Snyder, along with Arkansas US Reps. Mike Ross (D) and Marion Berry (D), on a list of ten “Dark Horse Races to Watch in 2010.” Snyder, however, doesn’t appear worried.
Florida: Gov. Charlie Crist’s (R) US Senate bid is getting off to a flush start, with $4.3 million raised by his campaign in the 2nd Quarter. His GOP rival, former House Speaker Marco Rubio, announced $340,000, a weak start for a candidate who was already the underdog. In addition to earlier backing from the state’s GOP establishment -- and the National Republican Senatorial Committee -- Crist recently was endorsed by two key Cuban-American congressmen, Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Marion Diaz-Balart. Rubio, who already had the support of ex-presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and US Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), also garnered an endorsement from hard-shell conservative US Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). On the Democratic side, US Rep. Kendrick Meek brought in $1.2 million in the 2nd Quarter, on top of the $1.5 million he raised in the 1st Quarter. US Rep. Corrine Brown, who has formed an exploratory committee to join the race, raised only $44,000, according to Roll Call newspaper, which reported that she was delaying her fundraising effort until she has finished contacting potential supporters.
Kentucky: In the battle for the US Senate, it looks like there will be well-financed contenders in both party primaries, suggesting two sets of battles royal in next year’s May primaries and another in the General Election in November. On the Democratic side, state Attorney General Jack Conway raised an impressive $1.3 million in the 2nd Quarter, his first in the race. The report of his main opponent, Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo, has yet to be released, but in the 1st Quarter, he raised $429,552. A third contender, former Customs Agent Darlene Price, has raised about $15,000. On the Republican side, Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson raised $600,000 in the 2nd Quarter. He has yet to announce that he will challenge incumbent US Sen. Jim Bunning (R) next year, but this report suggest he is likely to. Bunning’s 2nd Quarter numbers aren’t out yet, but in the 1st Quarter, he raised an unimpressive $263,000.
Louisiana: US Sen. David Vitter (R) announced he raised $1.2 million in the 2nd Quarter, bringing his cash-on-hand to some $3.2 million. Vitter’s aggressive fundraising is probably designed in part to ward off serious primary opposition, as well as to combat a potentially serious challenge in the General Election. US Rep. Charlie Melancon (D) has yet to announce whether he will run against Vitter.

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