Campaign News
October 17, 2009

House Hopefuls Flush with Donors

  ·  Birmingham News

WASHINGTON - The only open seat in Alabama's congressional elections next year, a district that includes parts of Birmingham, has drawn several candidates, four of whom have active fundraising efforts, according to new federal campaign finance reports.

The cash-on-hand leader in the competition for the 7th District seat being vacated by Rep. Artur Davis is Birmingham lawyer Terri Sewell. She has collected more than $317,000 so far, including during a threemonth period when she brought in more than $100,000.

Sewell's donor list shows significant connections in Alabama and from out of state, including G. Ruffner Page Jr., president of McWane Inc., who gave $2,400, and Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who also gave $2,400.

Congressional candidates who have started raising money were required to file updates with the Federal Election Commission this week detailing their donations and expenses from July 1 to Sept. 30.

Also in the 7th District race is state Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. of Birmingham, whose father held the congressional seat until after Davis beat him in the 2002 Democratic primary. Hilliard reports having about $29,000 in cash, and debt of about $5,400. He already is paying a fundraiser, a consultant and a pollster, according to his expense report.

Among Hilliard's donors are some of his father's former colleagues in Congress, including Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Elijah Cummings, D-Md.

Jefferson County Commissioner Shelia Smoot shows she had about $39,000 cash on hand and raised about $14,000 the past three months.

Former Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. has $636 cash in his campaign account and raised about $11,000 since July. He received $2,000 from the Alabama Power Co. Employees Political Action Committee.
All four contenders who filed FEC reports are Democrats.
Other races

In Birmingham's other congressional district, nine-term veteran Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Vestavia Hills, added $121,000 to his account in the past three months, bringing the cash on hand to $547,000. His report also shows an investment loss of $110,400.

The investments are held for the long -term and fluctuations both positive and negative are to be expected,'' said his spokesman, Tim Johnson.

Bachus' only challenger to file a finance report is Jasper native Stan Cooke, a Republican and founder of an international Christian mission organization. Cooke's report shows $5,500 cash on hand. He has lent his campaign $6,000 and received contributions of about $3,000.

In the 3rd District of east Alabama, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, is seeking a fifth term and reported $308,000 in his campaign account, including a $5,000 donation from Bachus' political action committee. He raised $170,000 in the past three months.

His Democratic challenger is Josh Segall, a Montgomery lawyer who also ran in 2008. Segall shows $162,000 in his account, with a debt of about $132,000. He raised $130,000 in the past three months, including a $100 donation from Paul Hubbert, executive secretary of the Alabama Education Association.

In another race already drawing national interest, Rep. Bobby Bright, DMontgomery, is going for a second term in the southeastern Alabama District 2. He has about $490,000 in cash, and debt of about $9,000. He has collected $191,000 since July, including $1,000 from Jay Grinney, CEO of HealthSouth Corp., and $5,000 from the Alabama Power Co. employee PAC.
His Republican challenger is Montgomery City Councilwoman Martha Roby, who accepted almost $91,000 in contributions over the past three months, giving her a cash balance of more than $178,000.

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