Barbour, other candidates head into primaries with sizable campaign funds

Published 6:47 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Republican Gov. Haley Barbour leads the pack of statewide candidates who have sizable campaign treasure chests as they head into the last week before the Aug. 7 primaries.

Barbour has more than $7.2 million in cash on hand after raising $189,977 during the month of July, according to his latest campaign finance report.

Tuesday was the deadline for candidates to file reports showing contributions and expenditures from July 1 to July 28. It comes one week before voters go to the polls to elect candidates in the Democratic and Republican primaries.

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Barbour’s Democratic challenger, attorney John Arthur Eaves of Madison, reported $484,390 in cash on hand after raising $82,666 in July.

Both Barbour and Eaves face political unknowns in their respective primaries. On the GOP ballot is Frederick L. Jones of Gulfport, who did not file a report.

Eaves’ opponents are Elmer “Louis” Fondren of Gautier and William Bond Compton Jr. of Meridian. Neither filed campaign finance reports on Tuesday.

In the lieutenant governor’s race, State Auditor Phil Bryant, who is vying for the Republican nomination against state Sen. Charlie Ross, raised nearly twice as much as his opponent. Bryant raised $162,289, compared with Ross’ total of $87,469.

But Ross goes into the final week of campaigning with $238,722 in his campaign chest, compared to Bryant’s $154,327.

State Rep. Jamie Franks of Mooreville, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor, had $601,905 in cash on hand after raising $55,150 during the reporting period.

Democratic incumbent Insurance Commissioner George Dale raised $212,910 in July and had $117,991 in cash on hand.

Dale’s challenger in the Democratic Primary, former fiscal officer Gary Anderson of Jackson, raised $142,119, including a $100,000 contribution the candidate made to himself. Anderson had $136,556 in cash on hand.

State Sen. Mike Chaney of Vicksburg, a Republican candidate for insurance commissioner, raised $4,850. He had $940 in cash on hand. Ronnie English of Vancleave, also a GOP candidate for insurance commissioner, did not file a report.

Many candidates will likely tap their campaign cash to make a last-minute advertising blitz.

Broadcast advertisements are a major part of Anderson’s campaign to unseat Dale, who has held the office for 32 years.

“We’ve known all along that to win this race, we need to communicate our message of a fair deal for Mississippi insurance rate payers, and TV is the easiest way to do that,” said Anastasia Apa, Anderson’s campaign manager.

Eaves, who has been the major contributor to his own campaign, has repeatedly said he’ll spend whatever it takes to win.

“We’re on TV and radio with positive spots that focus on John’s family and vision for a new day in Mississippi,” said Eaves’ spokeswoman Sharon Garrison.

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