VOL. 131 | NO. 144 | Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Funds Rolling In for 8th Congressional District Race
By Bill Dries
Five of the six major contenders in the Republican primary for the 8th Congressional District raised a total of $1.8 million from Jan. 1 to June 30 going into the critical last month of the campaign.
And the sixth major contender, Memphis radiologist and former Shelby County commissioner George Flinn, had $1.5 million of a $2.9 million campaign war chest left to spend at the end of June.
Flinn is self-financing all but $200,000 of the $2.9 million he reported having in his campaign account to the Federal Election Commission.
The total amount Flinn raised is the same as it was at the end of the April 1-March 30 quarter.
But Flinn spent $1 million in the April to June quarter compared to $212,000 in the previous quarter.
For the rest of the pack, state Sen. Brian Kelsey of Germantown raised $712,921 from January to June 30 and had spent more than half of that, leaving him with $339,888 for the last month of the campaign.
Kelsey raised $273,916 for the latest quarter.
Former U.S. attorney and Shelby County Republican Party chairman David Kustoff raised $614,822 for the six-month period and spent more than a third of that, leaving him with nearly $400,000 for the July run-up to the Aug. 4 election day.
He had the top amount among the primary field for the April-June quarter with $295,140 raised.
Kustoff reported a $50,000 loan to his campaign. He also has $300,000 in campaign debt, according to the campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell raised $324,692 over half a year and spent $51,040, leaving him with more than a quarter of a million dollars.
Luttrell’s total raised for the most recent quarter was $180,217.
Luttrell may have already starting spending into his balance with television ads that began airing around the Fourth of July weekend, after Flinn, Kelsey and Kustoff had already started airing and spending campaign cash on television ads.
The ads are a necessity in a district that covers 15 West Tennessee counties including parts of Shelby County.
Jackson businessman Brad Greer raised a more modest $133,608 January through June and had spent just over $46,000 of that by the end of June.
He raised $29,895 in the second quarter.
Greer is the best financed of the 13 contenders in the primary who are from outside Shelby County. Greer, who has worked in numerous campaigns in the Jackson area and runs a marketing company, also began airing television ads after the Fourth of July holiday.
In his case, the ads emphasized his differences with “career politicians from Memphis.”
“Do you want a career politician or do you want one of us?” he asks voters in the ads.
Shelby County Register Tom Leatherwood, one of seven primary contenders from Shelby County, raised $49,647 in the first two quarters of 2016 and spent $21,216, He had a balance of $25,346 at the end of June.
Leatherwood raised $9,837 for the second quarter.
Most, if not all of the six major contenders, planned to hold additional fundraisers in the last month of the campaign.
Raymond Honeycutt of Shelby County reported no money raised and none spent. David Maldonado, also of Shelby County, reported raising $5,184, of which $5,000 was his own money.
The winner of the Aug. 4 Republican primary meets the winner of the Democratic primary between Gregory Alan Frye and Rickey Hobson, with neither reporting any money raised or spent.
With 8th District incumbent Stephen Fincher announcing earlier this year that he would not seek-re-election, the Republican primary has become the dominant race on the August ballot locally.
Ninth District Democratic incumbent Steve Cohen reported raising $477,682 since Jan. 1 – $335,982 of that from political action committees (PACs). He spent $152,809. He ended June with a balance of $942,710 in his campaign war chest.
Cohen faces token opposition in the Democratic primary for a district that is completely within Shelby County. It is Cohen’s easiest primary outing since claiming the congressional seat in 2006.
None of his primary challengers, Shelby County Commissioner Justin Ford, M. Latroy Williams nor Larry Crim reported raising or spending any money.