Hosemann Outraises Opponents in First Four Months of Election Year

Jackson, Miss. (Clarion Ledger) – Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves has raised another $1 million this year in his push to win the governor’s race, new campaign finance reports show.

The Republican has about $6.7 million in his campaign accounts, leaving his Republican and Democratic rivals far behind in terms of fundraising.

Yet it appears Reeves’ most formidable Republican opponent, Bill Waller Jr., has raised enough to stay competitive ahead of the August primary. He launched his campaign two months ago and has since brought in $580,000.

And Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, also continues to bring in hefty donations, reporting more than $750,000 since the start of the year. Hood has close to $1.2 million in cash to spend, according to the reports filed with the state Friday afternoon.

Waller, a former Mississippi Supreme Court chief justice, faces Reeves and state Rep. Robert Foster in the Republican primary. In a Wednesday fundraising announcement, his campaign said it received about 700 donations and “exceeded its fundraising goal so far.”

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller gestures during a debate between himself and Rep. Robert Foster, R-Hernando, unseen, during a Mississippi Republican gubernatorial debate in Starkville, Miss., Tuesday, April 2, 2019. Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, also a candidate, did not take part in the debate.

Reeves, meanwhile, has accumulated a campaign war chest that’s more than three times larger than the one Republican Gov. Phil Bryant had on hand at the same juncture, prior to winning election in 2011.

“We’re gearing up to defeat the Democrats trying to turn Mississippi blue, and this overwhelming fundraising effort gives us the tools we need to get it done,” Reeves spokesman Parker Briden said in a statement.

The Republican gubernatorial candidates began spending significant money in recent weeks, each launching digital or television ads.

Here are fundraising details from other statewide candidates whose reports were posted Friday:

Robert Foster, governor. Foster, a Republican state representative from Hernando, reported raising close to $73,000, and spending about $66,000 since January. He said on Twitter earlier this week that he wouldn’t “have millions in the bank come Friday when campaign finance reports are released. In fact, I don’t want it, because there are huge strings attached to money like that.”

Robert Shuler Smith, governor. The Hinds County district attorney and Democrat reported bringing in $11,000 since entering the gubernatorial race two months ago. Most of the cash came as a transfer from his DA campaign account. He reported spending nearly as much as he brought in, primarily on staff expenses and meals. He has just $387 in cash on hand ahead of his August primary contest against Hood.

Velesha Williams, governor. The Democrat, a former Jackson State University employee who is new to politics, brought in almost $12,000 since January, much of it loans from herself. She spent nearly $13,000 on various campaign expenses and reported $137 leftover in her account.

Delbert Hosemann, lieutenant governor. The current Republican secretary of state raised more than $366,000 and spent about $266,000 in the first four months of the year. Hosemann has now built up a $2.7 million campaign war chest after previous fundraising hauls. He received more than 330 donations so far this year. “We continue to be encouraged by the support Mississippians have conveyed for our candidacy,” Hosemann said in a statement. He faces a little-known candidate, Shane Quick of Lake Cormorant, in August’s Republican primary.

Jay Hughes, lieutenant governor. The Democrat, a state representative from Oxford, brought in almost $392,000 — the majority loans from himself — and spent about $644,000 so far this year. He reported $162,000 left to spend. A previous filing, in January, did not include itemized expenses for his credit card charges, but Hughes later provided the credit card statements, and the latest filing included details of his campaign’s more recent individual charges. Hughes doesn’t have a primary opponent.

Mark Baker, attorney general. The conservative state representative reported bringing in about $75,000 so far this year and spending about $10,000 more than that in the same period, leaving him with about $368,000 in cash on hand after previous fundraising.

Lynn Fitch, attorney general. The Republican state treasurer reported bringing in $259,000 and spending more than $107,000 since January in her bid for attorney general. She has more than $400,000 remaining in her campaign account after previous fundraising.

Jennifer Riley Collins, attorney general. The lone Democrat in the race and the current executive director of the Mississippi ACLU reported raising $29,000 since January, and spending about $11,000 of that.

Andy Taggart, attorney general. The Republican reported raising $308,000 since he announced his candidacy two months ago, and spent about $85,000 of that, much of it on transportation. Taggart served as chief of staff for the late Gov. Kirk Fordice.

Sam Britton, secretary of state. The Republican Public Service commissioner for the southern district reported bringing in $524,000 since the start of the year — $500,000 of that via two loans to his own campaign. He spent $130,000, on consulting, a website and other media-related expenses.

Johnny DuPree, secretary of state. The Democrat and former longtime mayor of Hattiesburg gathered $20,000 since the start of the year — including a $15,000 loan — and has spent more than $16,000 of it on online ads and campaign materials. DuPree was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2011, the first African American major party nominee for governor of Mississippi since Reconstruction. He faces a little-known opponent, Maryra Hodges Hunt, of Cruger, in the primary.

Michael Watson, secretary of state. The conservative state senator raised close to $200,000 since the beginning of the year, spending about $42,000. He still has significant money to spend after previous fundraising efforts.

Buck Clarke, treasurer. The Senate Appropriations Committee chairman has raised nearly $67,000, and reported spending just shy of $21,000, since January. A Republican from Hollandale, Clarke has $204,562 in cash on hand. No Democratic challengers are in the race, though Clarke will face a primary opponent.

David McRae, treasurer. The Republican brought in $609,000, mostly in the past month, though about $500,000 of that was thanks to loans to himself. He spent about $246,000 of that so far.

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