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Candidates for Arkansas governor file financial reports

Rutledge pulls in over $1.6M by Rachel Herzog | October 16, 2021 at 3:46 a.m.
Republicans Sarah Huckabee Sanders (from left) and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, as well as Democrat Chris Jones, are shown in this undated combination photo.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has raised more than $1.6 million for her bid for governor, while Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Jones surpassed $1 million in total campaign contributions, according to campaign finance reports filed Friday.

Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders remained the top fundraiser of the state's gubernatorial candidates, raising more than $2.1 million in the past quarter and $11 million total, according to a news release from her campaign.

Rutledge, who is seeking the GOP nomination as well, reported raising more than $190,000 in contributions in the third quarter of this year, bringing her fundraising total to more than $1.6 million.

Jones raised the most of the four Democratic candidates overall and for the third quarter, bringing in more than $384,000 in the three-month period ending Sept. 30.

Friday was the deadline for state candidates to file their quarterly campaign finance reports with the secretary of state's office. The filing period for candidates for state and federal offices in Arkansas is scheduled for Feb. 22-March 1, with the primary election May 24 and the general election Nov. 8, 2022.

Sanders' campaign said Thursday that it has more than $7 million cash on hand, more than any Arkansas gubernatorial candidate has ever raised in total. She has raised more money from in-state donors than all of her opponents combined, totaling $3.7 million from nearly 10,000 Arkansans, according to a news release. The rest of her money has come from out-of-state donors.

"I am grateful for the overwhelming support I have received from every county in our state and every state in our nation," Sanders said in a statement. "Now more than ever, Arkansas needs a real leader who will take our state to the top with bold reforms, lower taxes, and higher paying jobs to unleash our full potential."

Sanders, of Little Rock, was White House press secretary for then-President Donald Trump. She is the daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. She announced her bid for governor in late January.

Rutledge, who launched her campaign in July 2020, said in a statement Friday that she "will continue to keep her campaign focused on Arkansas and issues that are important to Arkansans."

"While over 80% of donors to my campaign are from Arkansas, 87% of my opponent's donors are from out-of-state. In the last few weeks, I have been in towns across Arkansas such as Rogers, Jonesboro, Fairfield Bay, Arkadelphia, and Star City while my opponent has been in New Jersey, Georgia, Alabama, and Texas. Arkansans don't want a governor who is bound to the interests of out-of-state donors. The Rutledge for Governor campaign is Arkansas-focused and committed to making Arkansas first," Rutledge said.

Sanders' third-quarter campaign report was not on the secretary of state's website by press time Friday evening.

For the primary, Rutledge raised $130,470 in contributions and spent $259,134 last quarter, bringing her total contributions up to nearly $1.2 million and total expenses to $558,719. She had a balance of $636,040 on Sept. 30.

She reported raising $60,500 in contributions for the general election and spending nothing last quarter, leaving a balance of $443,500 on Sept. 30.

For the Democratic primary, Jones raised $371,797 and spent $455,507 last quarter, leaving a balance of $451,329 on Sept. 30.

For the general election, he reported raising $12,570 in contributions last quarter and spending nothing, leaving a balance of $16,970 on Sept. 30.

Jones' campaign cheered passing the $1 million milestone in a Thursday news release that said it was the largest haul of any Democratic candidate running for statewide office since 2014.

"From day one, this campaign has been prepared to do the work necessary to be in a position to reach Arkansans and win in 2022," Jones said in a statement. "This fundraising mark is proof that Arkansas is open to choosing a path that leads away from division, and toward bringing us all back together as one Arkansas."

Jones, of Little Rock, is the former head of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub.

The three other Democratic gubernatorial candidates reported the following figures:

• Businesswoman Supha Xayprasith-Mays of Little Rock raised $6,600 in contributions and spent nothing for the primary last quarter. That increased her fundraising total to $7,400 and total spent to $800, leaving a balance of $6,600 at the end of the third quarter. Xayprasith-Mays announced her campaign on March 26.

• Teacher Anthony Bland Sr. of Little Rock received $195 in contributions and spent $284, leaving a balance of $1,942 at the end of the third quarter. Bland announced his bid for governor on June 23.

• Businessman James Russell III of Little Rock reported raising $737 and spending $4,013 for the primary in the third quarter. His total contributions were $5,372, total loans were $4,000, and total expenditures were $5,372, leaving a balance of negative $1,253. Russell said he would seek the Democratic nomination for governor in February.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Of the five announced Republican candidates for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Jason Rapert of Conway led the field in third-quarter fundraising.

Rapert reported $63,915 in contributions and spent $48,939.33 last quarter for the primary. That increased his total contributions to $281,097 and total expenses to $92,294.17, leaving a balance of $188,803.16 on Sept. 30.

For the general election, he raised $5,000 in contributions last quarter, leaving a balance of $17,700.

Former state Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb of Benton reported raising $56,305 and spending $9,008 for the primary last quarter, bringing his total contributions to $176,445 and total expenditures to $18,392.

Webb raised $25,300 and spent nothing for the general election.

State Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe of Little Rock had not filed a third-quarter report by press time Friday, but said he had raised about $43,000 in the three-month period ending Sept. 30, leaving a balance of about $220,000.

Bledsoe entered the race in February.

Washington County's County Judge Joseph Wood raised $36,324 in contributions and spent $25,153 for the primary, leaving a balance of $43,663 on Sept. 30. Wood announced his campaign for lieutenant governor on May 17.

Little Rock businessman Chris Bequette raised $12,830, loaned his campaign $15,000 and spent $4,826 for the primary, leaving a balance of $23,004 on Sept. 30. Bequette launched his campaign on Sept. 7.

Democratic candidate Kelly Krout, a foster care advocate from Lowell who entered the race on Sept. 9, reported raising $55,117 and spending $11,049 for the primary, leaving a balance of $44,167 on Sept. 30.

ATTORNEY GENERAL

In the race for attorney general, Republican Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin of Little Rock reported raising $40,479 and spending $101,361 for the primary last quarter, boosting his total contributions to $1.5 million and his total expenses to $418,630 and leaving a balance of nearly $1.1 million on Sept. 30.

For the general election, Griffin reported raising $9,800 and spending nothing, increasing his total contributions to $602,535 and his total expenses to $15,800. That left a balance of $586,735 on June 30. Griffin was initially in the governor's race, but in February announced that he would run for attorney general instead.

The other Republican candidate, Leon Jones Jr. of Little Rock, raised and spent nothing for the primary last quarter. His cumulative total raised is $48,050, and he has spent $18,783, leaving him with a balance of $29,266 on Sept. 30.

Jones is the state's former Fair Housing Commission director. He announced his candidacy for attorney general on Feb. 10.

Democratic candidate Jesse Gibson, a Little Rock attorney, reported raising $28,240 and spending $51,768 for the primary last quarter, leaving a balance of $78,066 on Sept. 30. His cumulative total raised is $115,475, and he has spent $62,409 in all. Gibson announced his campaign on May 25.

SECRETARY OF STATE

Secretary of State John Thurston, a Republican from East End, reported raising $36,745 in contributions and spending $7,645 last quarter for the primary. That increased his total contributions to $61,045 and his total expenses to $8,156, leaving a balance of $70,106.34 on Sept. 30.

For the general election, Thurston received a $2,800 contribution last quarter, leaving a balance of $2,800 on Sept. 30.

Thurston has two primary challengers, state Rep. Mark Lowery of Maumelle and former state Sen. Eddie Joe Williams of Cabot.

Lowery had not filed a report by press time Friday, but said he received $10,800 in contributions and spent $702 for the primary in the last quarter.

Williams reported raising $25,322 for the primary election and spending $108, leaving a balance of $25,214. For the general election, he reported raising $5,000. He entered the race on Sept. 13.

Democratic candidate Joshua Price reported raising $47,909 and spending $37,271 for the primary, increasing his total contributions to $61,869 and total expenditures to $37,424. That left a balance of $24,445 on Sept. 30.

Price, a former Pulaski County election commissioner from Maumelle, announced his campaign on July 7.

TREASURER

State Sen. Mat Pitsch, R-Fort Smith, reported raising $17,605 and spending $25,078 last quarter for the primary in his bid for state treasurer, leaving a balance of $25,198 on Sept. 30. His total raised increased to $51,605 and his total spent was $28,433.

Pitsch launched his campaign on Feb. 1.

LAND COMMISSIONER

Land Commissioner Tommy Land, a Republican from Heber Springs, reported raising $2,050 in contributions and spending $2,119 for the primary. That increased his total contributions to $22,562 and total expenses to $4,329, leaving a balance of $18,407. Land announced that he would seek reelection in January.

Democratic challenger Goldi Gaines of North Little Rock did not report raising or spending any money in the quarter ending Sept. 30, having entered the race on Oct. 10.

AUDITOR

State Treasurer Dennis Milligan, who is term-limited, is seeking the Republican nomination for state auditor. No report from his campaign was on the secretary of state's website by press time Friday evening.

Print Headline: Candidates file financial reports

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