Barbour shows $7.7 M in campaign cash, Eaves at $1.2 M

Published 7:11 pm Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A new campaign finance report shows Republican Gov. Haley Barbour collected another $1.1 million last month and, with $7.7 million cash on hand, is more than halfway to the $13 million he says he might spend in seeking a second term.

Attorney John Arthur Eaves Jr., a Democrat who hopes to challenge Barbour in the general election, has about $1.2 million cash on hand — about the same amount he reported having a month ago. Eaves is still his own largest donor.

Tuesday was the deadline for Mississippi candidates to file reports showing how much money they raised and spent from Jan. 1 through June 30.

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The reports give an idea of how much advertising the candidates will be able to afford in the crucial final weeks before the Aug. 7 party primaries. The general election is Nov. 6.

The three candidates for the open job of lieutenant governor each reported having more than half a million dollars on hand. Republican state Sen. Charlie Ross of Brandon listed $805,342, while his GOP primary opponent, Auditor Phil Bryant of Brandon, showed $615,035. State Rep. Jamie Franks of Mooreville, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, had $601,198.

Eaves, a 40-year-old attorney who lives in Madison County and practices in Jackson, lags significantly behind Barbour in collecting campaign cash but is the only Democratic gubernatorial candidate who reports having any money on hand.

“I’m going to put my entire life savings into this campaign to make it clear my loyalties will remain with the hardworking people of Mississippi, and not with big oil, big tobacco, or big insurance,” Eaves said in a news release Tuesday.

Barbour, 59, is on a five-day economic-development trip to Japan.

The governor said in a news release from his campaign: “I am grateful for this continued support from such a wide range of individuals who have shown their confidence that Mississippi is moving forward.”

Barbour has said that he and the Republican Party, combined, spent about $13 million when he unseated Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove four years ago. Barbour is a former Republican National Committee chairman who still relies on his connections to raise campaign cash.

Barbour’s only Republican primary opponent Frederick L. Jones of Gulfport, has not filed any campaign finance reports this year, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Two of Eaves’ Democratic primary opponents, William Bond Compton of Meridian and former lawmaker Elmer L. “Louis” Fondren of Gautier, reported Tuesday that they have no cash on hand. In a report filed in May, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Fred Smith of Aberdeen listed no money; he did not file a report by Tuesday’s deadline.

Bill Renick of Ashland, a Democrat who dropped out of the governor’s race in late April, filed a report Tuesday showing no cash on hand. He raised and spent $104,950 this year.