Barbour leads in campaign funds

Published 5:00 pm Thursday, October 11, 2007

Gov. Haley Barbour’s re-election campaign raised $4.1 million over the last two months, far outpacing his Democratic challenger as candidates head into the final stretch before the general election.

In campaign finance reports filed Wednesday with the secretary of state, Barbour reported $5.9 million in cash. He has raised $8.4 million and spent $6 million this calendar year.

Democrat gubernatorial candidate John Arthur Eaves Jr., a millionaire Madison attorney, reported $23,799 in cash. Eaves raised $1.4 million during the reporting period. So far this year, he’s raised $3.2 million and spent $2.5 million.

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Eaves’ spokeswoman Sharon Garrison on Wednesday shrugged off the candidate’s small cash account.

“John is investing himself and his life savings in this campaign so that he is not beholden to the moneychangers of big oil, big insurance and big tobacco,” said Garrison. “The concern about the money that Barbour is raising is where it’s coming from and who’s buying influence from Haley Barbour.”

Barbour said in a statement he’s received contributions from more than 5,700 donors this year.

“Mississippians across the state continue to demonstrate their support for our agenda of more and better jobs, improving education and health care, and balancing the budget without raising anybody’s taxes,” Barbour said in the statement.

Barbour received $1.6 million from the RGA-Mississippi political action committee. Some of his other big contributions were $50,000 from Electric Power Associations of MS; $50,000 from W.D. Mounger of Jackson, who listed his employment as the oil industry; $38,000 from the Mississippi Health Care Association PAC; $25,000 from real estate agent Larry Johnson of Jackson; $25,000 from Richard McRae Jr. of Jackson; and $25,000 from James W. Bagley of Roanoke, Tex., who is chairman and CEO of Lam Research Corporation.

Eaves received a $10,000 contribution from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, but most of his campaign funds were his own money.

Running out of money this close to the Nov. 6 general election is a setback for candidates, said Steve Rozman, a political science professor at Tougaloo College. Rozman said most candidates have been running negative campaigns against their opponents.

“If you run out of money and your opponent can keep tagging you as a liberal … that’s like the kiss of death in the state of Mississippi,” Rozman said.

In recent television ads, Barbour has accused Eaves of suing the nation’s military for financial gain. Eaves has repeatedly painted Barbour as a darling of special interest groups.

In the lieutenant governor’s race, Democrat state Rep. Jamie Franks of Mooreville reported $595,941 in cash. His Republican challenger, State Auditor Phil Bryant of Brandon, reported $373,712 in cash.

One of Franks’ largest contributions was $25,000 from Taj and Ashley Colom, owners of Colom Construction.

Bryant received $25,000 from James Barksdale, president and CEO of Barksdale Corp.; $20,000 from the Mississippi Bank Association PAC and $15,000 from Electric Power Associations of MS.