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Boozman's coffers dwarf those of foes

by Stephen Simpson | October 16, 2021 at 3:44 a.m.
Supporters of a candidate cavort across the street from a polling place in Little Rock's Hillcrest neighborhood Tuesday afternoon, March 3, 2020. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/John Sykes Jr.)

Several challengers to incumbent members of Congress filed their campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission on Friday afternoon, showing a wide range of donations.

The deadline to file reports for campaigns for federal office was Friday. However, reports for the incumbents and most of their challengers were not seen on the FEC website by Friday evening.

Several Republican and Democratic challengers have stepped up over the past year looking to unseat U.S. Sen. John Boozman, a Republican who is seeking a third six-year term.

The senator faces three Republican challengers in 2022 and at least three Democrats say they are vying for their party's nomination.

Democratic candidate Natalie James of Little Rock listed total receipts of $21,833 and expenditures of $14,955, as well as debts and obligations of $3,411.

James reported cash on hand of $6,878 as of Friday.

"As a business owner fresh to politics, I'm encouraged by the support we have behind us," James said in an emailed statement to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "I'm reaching people while hitting the campaign trail across the state and the people are speaking loudly. They are ready to support a person relatable to Arkansans, unlike Senator Boozman."

Heath Loftis, pastor of Park Avenue Missionary Baptist Church in Stuttgart and a Republican Senate candidate, reportedly raised $480 in donations during the third quarter with his net operating expenditures coming in at $1,459. He ended this cycle with $29 cash on hand after beginning with $3,823.

Despite lagging in donations, Loftis said his campaign remains on track.

"Nothing to worry about right now," he said. "We have a low-cost campaign that we run. We are still making the rounds. This doesn't hinder or change anything that we are doing."

Loftis said he has strong support from the community and those who oppose abortion and believes this will pick up the closer it gets to the November 2022 election.

Michael Deel of Fort Smith, another Republican candidate for the Senate, suspended his campaign in July and filed his termination report this week.

Deel refunded $155 in contributions and had $106 in cash on hand.

Boozman's campaign announced earlier this week on social media and in a statement that he raised more than $1.1 million in the third quarter of this year.

"I am grateful to the people of Arkansas for the tremendous support and confidence they have shown my campaign since announcing for re-election in March," Boozman said in a news release. "As I travel across the state -- from our farmland to our Main Streets to our military bases and veterans halls -- Arkansans have made one thing clear: they are worried about the direction of our country.

"Now, more than ever, Arkansans know Washington needs proven, conservative leadership, and I am honored by their trust in me to continue representing our shared conservative values in the U.S. Senate," Boozman said. "Together, we can move America back in the right direction and protect our God-given freedoms from those who wish to weaken them."

The campaign told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that Boozman's re-election effort had more than $2.7 million in cash on hand as of Friday afternoon.

A spokesperson for former NFL player Jake Bequette, a Republican from Little Rock, told the Democrat-Gazette that his campaign raised more than $530,000 in the quarter.

Bequette declared his candidacy in July, 12 days after the second quarter ended, so this was one of the first statements from the campaign about contributions as the third-quarter deadline closed.

"I continue to be overwhelmed by the encouragement and support I've received since launching this campaign, and it's clear that our message is resonating," Bequette said in an emailed statement. "Washington is failing America, and career politicians in both parties are to blame. Arkansans want a conservative outsider who is willing to step up and fight for our values, and that's exactly what I intend to do."

Politico, a national news organization, reported this week that Dick Uihlein, CEO of Uline Inc., is giving $1 million to a newly formed super PAC known as the Arkansas Patriots Fund that is aligned with Bequette.

Documents on the FEC website did show the Arkansas Patriots Fund had $1 million in cash on hand at the close of the reporting period, but didn't show where the money was sent. The website states the PAC does not qualify as a multicandidate committee as of October.

Campaign finance reports for Republican primary challenger Jan Morgan, a Hot Springs gun-range owner, and would-be Democratic nominees Dan Whitfield of Bella Vista and Jack Foster of Pine Bluff had not yet been posted on the FEC website by Friday evening.

In 2016, Boozman overcame a primary challenge from businessman Curtis Coleman, receiving 76.5% of the vote. He captured 59.8% of the vote in November 2016 to defeat Democrat Conner Eldridge.

The vast majority of finance reports for the state's U.S. House elections were unavailable as of Friday evening, but Neil Kumar of Bentonville, a Republican challenger to Rep. Steve Womack in the 3rd Congressional District, had his paperwork listed on the FEC website.

Kumar listed receipts of $26,057 and expenditures of $8,497. Campaign cash on hand totalled $17,559.

Print Headline: Boozman's coffers dwarf those of foes

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