GOP legislators bank $9.3M; Democrats $849K

Republicans in the Tennessee legislature have a cumulative $9.6 million in their personal campaign committees while Democrats have just $849,000, according to The Tennessean’s calculation.

The total, which does not include political action committees of members of the legislature, is the amount of money held by members of the House and Senate in their official campaign committees.

To be sure, Republicans vastly outnumber Democrats in the legislature, but the GOP money lead ahead of the primary for state office in August underscores a simple point for those who closely watch state politics.

“It’s indicative of the fact that there’s not a lot of competition in the state legislature,” said John Geer, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University.

Among House Republicans, 72 members have $5.3 million available to them. On the Democratic side, 25 House members have about $753,000 in their campaign coffers. The average House Republican has $74,000 available to spend, while the average Democrat has about $30,000.

In the Senate, 28 Republicans have $4.3 million available. The chamber’s five Democrats have about $96,000 between them. The average Republican in the Senate has nearly $156,000, which vastly outweighs the average $19,000 available to Democrats.

House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, led all state lawmakers with more than $929,000 in cash on hand.