Gov. Bill Lee has begun to empty his war chest after spending nearly $3.2 million in the final month of his last gubernatorial campaign, according to his latest campaign finance report filed earlier this week.
On the federal side, Democrat Heidi Campbell running in the 5th Congressional District and Democrat Odessa Kelly running in the 7th crossed $1 million in money raised final days of the campaign. This influx of money allowed Campbell to out raise her Republican opponent, Andy Ogles, and Kelly to nearly keep up with her Republican opponent incumbent US Rep. Mark Green.
The money comes despite Republicans heavily favored to win both seats after a favorable redistricting process earlier this year.
Those competing in state races had to file their pre-election campaign finance reports by Nov. 1, while federal election reports were due Oct. 27. These are the last reports due before Election Day on Tuesday.
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jason Martin’s latest report was not available online as of Friday. A spokesperson for the Martin campaign said they had filed the report and were looking into the issue. The Tennessee Registry of Election Finance executive director William Young said Friday the Martin campaign was working to get the report filed, and that it would “hopefully will be available soon.”
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Lee left with less than $500,000 after a massive ad buy
Lee entered the race for governor with a significant financial advantage over his Democratic opponent. At the start of the year, the governor had nearly $5 million in his campaign account from him.
But between the primary and general election, Martin has been able to raise around $1.1 million and nearly matched Lee in money raised during the third quarter, but he’s never come close to matching the governor’s overall haul.
Lee now has $485,765 left in his campaign account after spending most of it in October. His largest purchase from him in the last month was $2.2 million on television advertisements.
5th Congressional District: Campbell continues to raise more than Ogles
Campbell has raised over $1 million for her congressional bid, while Ogles, the largest Maury County, has raised around $579,000 in contributions.
Ogles spent most of his money in Republican primary, where he defeated multiple challengers. Republicans split Nashville into three congressional districts this year, moving the 5th from a Democratic stronghold to a district that should favor the GOP. Incumbent US Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, declined to seek reelection.
As a result, the GOP primary was wide open and Ogles spent heavily to secure the nomination.
About $200,000 in outside money has been spent on the race since the primary. Patriot Majority PAC, a liberal group, spent $60,000 on advertisements opposing Ogles.
Campbell received nearly $100,000 in advertisement support from the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition PAC. The group also endorsed Campbell earlier this year.
Since the August primary, Campbell has raised $686,882 and spent $595,770. Ogles has raised $369,498 and spent $240,104.
Campbell has $338,937 in cash on hand heading into the final days before the election, and Ogles has $412,286 in cash, but $320,000 is a personal loan he carried over from the primary.
6th Congressional District: Rose has a significant cash advantage
Incumbent US Rep. John Rose, R-Cookeville, has raised $1.4 million this election cycle, significantly outpacing his Democratic rival Randal Cooper, who has raised $10,697.
Rose has over $1.3 million in cash on hand, and Cooper has $6,345.
7th Congressional District: Kelly and Green both raise seven-figures
Kelly has also raised nearly $1 million since the start of the campaign. But Green, the incumbent, has outraised her, bringing in roughly $1.3 million in contributions.
Green and Kelly are nearly tied in cash on hand. Green has $140,412, and Kelly has $101,184 heading into the campaign’s final days.
Adam Friedman is The Tennessean’s state government and politics reporter. Reach him by email at [email protected]