GOP Sets Record at Governor’s Residence Fundraiser

About $550,000 was collected for Republican spending in campaigns for state legislative seats at a recent fundraiser at Gov. Bill Haslam’s official residence, according to House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart.
That is a new record for a legislative fundraising event, she said. It is also about twice as much as the state Republican party collected at a fundraiser held at the governor’s residence earlier this year. Adam Nickas, executive director of the state GOP, says that “leadership forum” netted about $275,000.
“If they really raised that much, that’s something,” acknowledged House Democratic Chairman Mike Turner of the $550,000 total. “I don’t know where all that money came from.”
Reports disclosing exact amounts collected and sources of the donations need not be publicly disclosed until January. Maggart said she did not know whether any money came from direct corporate contributions as authorized by a law enacted earlier this year by the Legislature because “I haven’t looked through the checks.”
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Turner said House and Senate Democrats have had no major fundraising events yet this year, but they plan to schedule functions in November and December.
While saying he does not anticipate the minority Democrats matching the majority Republican record, Turner said that he is optimistic that enough funding can be raised to wage competitive campaigns in selected legislative districts next year. At one recent House Democratic fundraiser with a limited invitation list, about $27,000 was collected, and checks are still coming in, he said.
Turner said Democrats are eyeing about 17 incumbent Republican freshmen and six more senior incumbents as possible targets next year, though much will depend on how Republicans draw new lines in the redistricting process under way.
Republicans have a 64-34 advantage in the House, where there is one independent, and a 19-14 advantage in the Senate.

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