Five current Republican state legislators helped Jason Zachary report raising almost three times as much in political contributions as Karen Carson in the initial financial disclosures filed for the special election in the state’s 14th House District.
Zachary, a businessman who won almost 40 percent of the vote in losing to U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. in last year’s 2nd Congressional District Republican primary, and Knox County school board member Carson are the only candidates qualifying for election to the seat previously held by Ryan Haynes, who resigned in April to become chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party.
The winner of the Aug. 12 GOP primary is thus virtually assured of winning the seat, since no Democrat is running in the Sept. 20 general election for the seat that represents portions of West Knox County and the city of Farragut.
The initial reports filed with the Registry of Election Finance cover only the first weeks of the campaign, which officially began with Gov. Bill Haslam issuing a “writ of election” on June 14. The reports, filed Friday, end on June 30.
In that period, Zachary reported raising $16,741. That includes $2,500 each from political action committees operated by House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada of Thompson Station and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey of Germantown.
State Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, added another $1,500, while state Reps. Tillman Goins, R-Morristown, and Mary Littleton, R-Dickson, contributed $250 each, the reports show. Littleton was runnerup to Haynes in the state Republican Executive Committee’s voting on a new state GOP chair.
Carson had donations of $6,350 during the same period, all from individuals and none from legislators or PACs. She also loaned her campaign $5,000, giving her total campaign receipts of $11,350.
Carson reported spending $5,013 during the period, leaving her with a balance of $6,336 on June 30. Zachary reported spending of $1,516, leaving him with a balance of $15,225.
Carson’s biggest expenditures were a $2,574 payment to her campaign manager, Collin Thompson, and $2,207 for signs. Zachary’s biggest expenditure was $1,000 to the state Republican Party for “voter contact” information.
Zachary’s top donors were Kevin Bailey, CEO of Bailey International LLC, and his mother, Mary Bailey, who was a founder of the company that manufacturers hydraulic equipment. They each gave Zachary $3,000, though half of that in both cases was designated for spending in the general election; not the primary. All the money donated by legislators and their PACs is designated for spending in the primary.
Zachary reported no loans to his campaign. He did list $646 in self-spending on the campaign.