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Candidates file petitions, report record contributions

Candidates file petitions, report record contributions
With the list of candidates for 8th District Congressional seat and governor changing on a weekly basis, the strong holds in fundraising are making it known how the campaign trail is treating them.
In a press release issued by State Sen. Roy Herron’s office this week, Herron’s campaign has collected $490,000 in the last three months.
That amount brings him well over the $1 million mark, topping out at $1.1 million just since January. His press release also noted that the state senator has more than 1,500 contributors in all 19 counties in the 8th Congressional District labeling them as Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
Herron of Dresden announced his intent to seek the office currently held by Con. John Tanner in Tennessee’s 8th Congressional District immediately after Tanner announced his plans to retire this year from the office.
Herron had been a Democratic contender for the 2010 gubernatorial race. He opted out of that race to vie for Tanner’s seat, picking up opposition along the way in the form of Frog Jump conservative farmer Stephen Fincher.
With the first quarter fundraising reports expected to be filed soon, Fincher issued a similar announcement this week as his campaign has topped the $1 million mark.
That amount reportedly came from 1,058 donors throughout the first campaign quarter. Fincher recently concluded a three-day, 19-county bus tour meeting and greeting nearly 1,000 Tennesseans.
Fincher announced he will have $820,000 in coffers when he enters the second quarter. With a conservative platform, Fincher hopes to bring a Republican to the seat that has been held for two decades by a Blue Dog Democrat.
Joining Fincher on the Republican ticket in August is Union City-native Dr. Ron Kirkland.
Kirkland recently announced a revamp and unveiling of his new campaign Web site in an effort to utilize technology in his favor for getting his message out to the people.
Calling it “ground zero in Tennessee’s online community for telling the Beltway insiders ‘enough is enough,’” Kirkland stressed the value of fighting back against the “radical liberal agenda” in a recent press release.
Kirkland is a physician in Jackson and considers himself a conservative candidate for Tanner’s soon-vacant Congressional seat.
Luther Mercer, III, of Jackson dropped out of the Congressional race two weeks ago citing the inability to raise a substantial amount of campaign funds.
In the gubernatorial race, Jackson businessman Mike McWherter is the only Democratic contender vying for the governor’s seat in August. McWherter is the son of former Gov. Ned Ray McWherter of Dresden.
Kim McMillan of Clarksville issued a statement last week claiming her interest in the Clarksville mayoral race. With McMillan’s announcement to leave the gubernatorial race, McWherter stands alone on the Democratic ticket.
McWherter recently announced his plan to place all of his personal financial assets into a blind trust if he is elected governor of Tennessee. The Jackson Democrat wrote a $1 million check to his campaign just last week.
McWherter’s campaign stressed in a press release that a blind trust is used when elected officials take office to avoid conflicts of interest.
In that same release, his contender, Knoxville-mayor Bill Haslam, reportedly has not announced his intent to place holdings in his family-owned Pilot Oil Corp. into a blind trust.
Haslam, a Republican contender for the gubernatorial race, announced $1.3 million in campaign contributions during the first quarter.
That amount pushed Haslam’s total to more than $7 million in fundraising since he entered the gubernatorial race in January 2009.
For the August ballot, if the list of candidates remains unchanged, Haslam will join Chattanooga congressman Zach Wamp and state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey on the Republican ticket.
Wamp recently reported raising $3.1 million for his campaign with nearly $2 million remaining in his coffers.
Ramsey has been unable to collect campaign contributions during the first quarter which is also a legislative session.
During a recent governor’s forum, Ramsey said he was undeterred by the fundraising restriction, instead, he called it an advantage to be able to just meet and greet potential voters.
The Republican candidate had reportedly raised $2.7 million before the beginning of the legislative session.
Full campaign disclosures are not due until next week.
WCP 4.08.10

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