State Sen. Stacey Campfield has loaned his campaign $40,000 while Knox County Commissioner Richard Briggs, his leading opponent in next Thursday’s Republican primary, has loaned his campaign $122,000, new financial reports show.
The self-financing, reported in disclosures covering the period July 1 through July 28, roughly match the overall $3-to-$1 spending advantage that Briggs holds over Campfield in the race since its outset.
Since Briggs launched his campaign last year, reports filed with the Registry of Election Finance show he had spent a total of about $334,000 going into the final days of the campaign. Campfield had spent just over $98,000 in the same period.
A third candidate in the race, Mike Alford, reported a total of zero receipts and zero contributions.
A breakdown of the Campfield and Briggs reports:
-Briggs has raised, during his entire campaign, $225,964 in contributions and added the $122,000 loan in July for total campaign receipts of about $348,000. About two-thirds of his total spending came last month. He still had $14,564 cash on hand on July 28.
-Campfield began last year with $10,431 in his campaign account. He has since added $55,320 in contributions and the $40,000 loan last month. At the end of the disclosure period, he still had $6,953 cash on hand.
During the July period covered by the reports, Campfield the two were somewhat evenly matched in collecting money, though both in modest amounts – Campfield raised $15,320; Briggs $16,095.
Typically in legislative races, incumbents raise far more money from political action committees than challengers. In the Senate District 7 race, however, both Campfield and Briggs have gathered PAC money and Briggs appears to have an edge in PAC money.
In the last period, for example, Briggs collected funds from PACs representing lobbying firms, hospitals, telecommunications, realtors, dentists and ophthalmologists – physicians who treat eye ailments . Campfield got money from PACs representing lawyers, bankers, gun rights advocates and optometrists, who regularly fight with ophthalmologists at the legislature over the extent they can treat eye problems even though not licensed physicians.
Both men have also benefited from independent expenditures.
Americans for Prosperity, a group founded and funded by billionaire conservative brothers Charles and David Koch, is airing radio ads supporting Campfield and urging voters to thank him for voting to “stop Obamacare” and opposing Common Core standards. Because the ads do not explicitly ask that people vote for Campfield, they are not considered political ads under relevant campaign finance rules and the expenditures occurring after July 1 – as apparently all have — need not be reported until well after the election.
On the other hand, a newly-formed PAC called Advance Tennessee – funded by donations from traditional donors to GOP political causes – has spent about $8,000 on mailers criticizing Campfield and Nashville attorney Lewis Laska, editor of a book on Tennessee’s Constitution, has spent about $2,000 sending post cards to district voters urging them to vote against the incumbent.