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Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has a vast -- 17-fold -- monetary advantage over her Democratic rival, Mike Lee, with about two months left to go in the race, finance reports show, despite a recent surge in Lee's fundraising.

Lee raised more than Rutledge in each of the past two months. In August, reports made public Tuesday show, he raised more than the incumbent Republican by a 5-to-1 margin, hauling in $56,635 to Rutledge's $10,955.

But Lee, who is making his first run for statewide office, has also spent money at a faster clip as the campaign heats up and he attempts to expand his name recognition.

Meanwhile Rutledge, the head of the national Republican Attorneys General Association, has maintained her sizable war chest.

All told, at the end of August, Rutledge had $475,337 available to spend, compared with Lee's $27,926.

"Following the birth of her first child on July 27, Attorney General Rutledge has continued to run a full-throttle campaign garnering incredible statewide support with the resources necessary to take her message directly to Arkansans," Rutledge's campaign spokesman, Josh Mesker, said in a statement.

Jacob Kauffman, a spokesman for Lee's campaign, said the momentum was with the challenger.

"There is growing interest in this race and our fundraising is reflecting that," Kauffman said. "We are on a path to victory, the people know it, and we are seeing that in our reports."

In August, Lee's campaign spent more on polling ($29,000), consulting fees ($12,081) and staff ($17,416) than Rutledge.

The attorney general spent $1,500 on consulting and $8,135 on staff, while spending smaller sums mostly on travel and infrastructure.

Neither campaign has started airing television or radio ads.

Lee has focused so far on attempting to call attention to Rutledge's record and renewed questions about her past employment record with the state.

Rutledge also has focused on her record, using social media postings to highlight lawsuits she has filed or joined with other states.

Metro on 09/19/2018

Print Headline: AG's campaign cash eclipses opponent's

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