VOL. 125 | NO. 72 | Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Democrat McWherter's Fundraising Lags His GOP Foes
ERIK SCHELZIG | Associated Press Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Jackson businessman Mike McWherter has cleared the Democratic gubernatorial field. The fundraising front has proven more problematic.
Aside from a $1 million contribution from himself, McWherter reported raising only about $103,000 in the first quarter. That contrasts with the Republican field, where Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam has amassed nearly $1.3 million and U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp of Chattanooga reported about $510,500 in contributions.
A third GOP candidate, state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville, didn't raise any money in the quarter because of a state law that bans contributions to sitting lawmakers while the Legislature is in session.
McWherter's last remaining rivals for the Democratic nomination, state Sen. Jim Kyle of Memphis and former state Rep. Kim McMillan of Clarksville, dropped out during the quarter.
Campaign manager Kim Sasser Hayden said McWherter's main goal during the quarter was to consolidate his position in the race to succeed Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen.
"Mike spent a significant about of time meeting with Democratic leaders, local business and civic leaders, and local elected officials," Hayden said. "As the Democratic nominee, Mike can now focus more time on fundraising for the general election."
McWherter, the son of popular former Gov. Ned McWherter, spent $195,479 in the quarter ending March 31 and had $1.5 million remaining.
Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen can't run again because of term limits.
Haslam outraised all of his rivals and outspent them by a wide margin, too. About half of the $2 million Haslam spent in the quarter went to produce and broadcast the campaign's first television advertisements. Another $725,433 went to campaign consultants and staff.
Haslam had $3.5 million remaining on hand at the end of the quarter.
Wamp and Ramsey both ended the quarter with about $2.2 million hand. Wamp spent $201,000 in the quarter, while Ramsey spent $142,000.
Spokeswoman Rachel Taylor said Ramsey planned to launch his first television ad on a combination of broadcast and cable outlets on Wednesday, though she wouldn't say how much the campaign is spending.
"We're in this position right now because this team has done such an outstanding job of conserving and planning," she said.
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