The Tennessee Republican Party spent as much helping two legislative candidates in the last days before the November election as the Tennessee Democratic Party spent on its entire statewide efforts, according to financial disclosures filed last week.
The state GOP reported spending $93,600 to help Republican Troy Brewer just before the Nov. 4 election and sponsored a $50,000 TV ad to help Knoxville Republican Eddie Smith.
Brewer, who also acts as a contract accountant for the state GOP and was paid $8,750 in that capacity by the party, lost in his campaign against Democratic Rep. Bo Mitchell; Smith won in his campaign against former Democratic Rep. Gloria Johnson.
Those were two of the biggest items in $573,657 of spending reported by the Republican Party’s state campaign fund in its 2014 fourth quarter report filed last week with the Registry of Election Finance.
The Tennessee Democratic Party’s corresponding report shows $145,385 in total expenditures for the same period compared to GOP’s combined spending of about $143,600 on Mitchell and Smith. The Democrats spent $13,267 on behalf of Johnson; $27,000 on behalf of Mitchell in the last days of campaigning.
Both parties maintain separate accounts for campaigns involving U.S. Congress seats. The Tennessean reported earlier that those accounts show the Tennessee Republican Party sent more money to U.S. Senate candidates in North Carolina and Colorado — about $130,000 — than the Tennessee Democratic Party in supporting all of its candidates for congressional office in the final days of the campaign. During the full year, the state GOP spent more than $220,000 from its federal account in helping Republican congressional candidates in other states, The Tennessean reported.
The state GOP’s state financial disclosure for the fourth quarter shows $151,000 in transfers to its federal account.
Going into a new year, the GOP reported a cash-on-hand balance in its Tennessee campaign account of $227,490. Democrats reported a balance of $40,873.
The Republican financial advantage is also lopsided in campaign funds maintained by the partisan caucuses in a state Legislature where its party members enjoy a supermajority.
The House Democratic Caucus, in initially filing its new disclosure Wednesday under its new name of Tennessee Tomorrow PAC, reported a deficit of almost $30,000, prompting an inquiry from Registry of Election Finance officials. But Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart said that was a mathematical error and a revised report was filed Friday, showing a positive balance of $9,170.
The revised report shows both less spending — $81,594 instead of $112,277 — and more money coming in — $84,283 instead of $76,542 — than the original report showed.
The House Republican Caucus reported collecting $146,575 in its 2014 wrap up disclosure and spending $69,814. It starts the new year with $167,468 in the bank.
The Senate Republican Caucus, which had none of its incumbent members seriously challenged in last year’s general election campaigns, reported $49,034 in miscellaneous fourth quarter spending and $441,006 cash on hand for the new year. The Senate Democratic Caucus reported spending of $10,901 and $26,567 cash on hand.