General Assembly candidates make final fundraising push before primary


General Assembly candidates make final fundraising push before primary

By MATT BLOIS

Candidates hoping to represent Williamson County in the Tennessee General Assembly are making a final push to raise funds before the primary election.

Last week, candidates submitted campaign finance reports for July 1 through July 23. It’s the last report before the election on Aug. 2.

Candidates in the race for the state house seat in District 61 got more than $20,000 in contributions from July 1 to July 23. They’ve raised nearly $125,000 from contributions so far, and more than $700,000 from loans.

Republican Brandon Ogles got the most money from contributions in the last several weeks before the election. Most of the $8,600 he raised came from one contribution from the Middle Tennessee Leaders for Common Sense.

That group is a political action committee whose officers include Wayne Smith of Community Healthcare Systems and John Ingram of Ingram Industries. The group gave the maximum contribution for a political action committee of $7,800. 

That’s the largest donation to his campaign and counts for almost 40 percent of all the money he has raised through contributions. Ogles has also loaned his campaign $210,000.

With more than $50,000 still in the bank, Ogles had the most money left to spend on July 23.

Republican Gino Bulso has raised more money through contributions than any other candidate in the race so far, but only raised $600 in July. He also loaned $40,000 to his campaign this month.

Bulso had already received more than $30,000 in contributions before July and has loaned his campaign more than $300,000. The campaign had about $7,500 still left in its account on July 23.

Ogles and Bulso both spent more than $40,000 in July on advertising, payments to campaign workers and other campaign expenses.

Democrat Rebecca Purington raised more than $5,000 in the first three weeks of July, the second highest amount raised. That represents about 28 percent of all the contributions to her campaign, which received its first donation at the end of March. Purington previously loaned $2,018 to her 2018 campaign.

Republican Rebecca Ann Burke also raised close to $5,000 in July. She loaned an extra $10,000 to her campaign this month. She has already loaned about $53,000 to her campaign.

Jeff Ford only raised $250 in July, but he had more than $30,000 in his account as of July 23. That’s second only to Ogles. He’s raised about $15,000 so far and loaned his campaign $75,000.

Republican Robert Hullet raised $1,200 in July, including contributions from Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson and Music City Skydiving, a company owned by Williamson County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney.

Republican Terrence Smith has only raised about $20 during the entire campaign, and didn’t raise any money in July.

However, Republican Glen Casada, who is running for reelection to the state house for District 63, has raised far more than any of the candidates in District 61. He raised more than $27,000 in July, and has raised more than $90,000 since June 2017.

Dozens of groups have contributed to Casada’s campaign. Some of the groups that contributed in July include the Concerned Automotive Retailers PAC, the Tennessee Bankers Association PAC and the Tennessee Oil Marketers PAC.

As of July 23 Casada’s campaign had more than $300,000 in the bank.

Raeshawn Sanchez, a Republican who is challenging Casada as a write in candidate, raised about $1,600 as of the end of June. Sanchez’s July campaign finance report wasn’t available.

Democrat Bill Peach is hoping to represent District 63 as well. He had raised $1,400 by June 30, but a report for July wasn’t available.

Republican State Senator Jack Johnson is running against Democrat Kristen Grimm in his bid to continue representing District 23. He only raised $50 in July, and $2,355 between February and June. However, he raised more than $90,000 between June 2017 and early January 2018.

Grimm’s campaign got its first campaign contribution on April 17. Since then, she’s raised more than $10,000, including about $2,000 in July.

Since 2017, Republican House Representative Sam Whitson has raised more than $100,000 during his campaign for the state house seat in District 65. He raised most of that money between July 2017 and January 2018.

He’s running against Democrat Toby Shaffer. Campaign finance reports weren’t available for Shaffer.

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