Durham’s opponent now getting legislator, PAC help

Several of state Rep. Jeremy Durham’s fellow Republican legislators, along with a few political action committees that previously helped him, sent donations to his Republican primary opponent after release of a state attorney general’s report on the incumbent’s sexual harassment activity and subsequent suspension of his campaign, new financial disclosures show.

Republican legislators contributing to challenger Sam Whiston’s campaign – through their own PACs, individually or through campaign funds — include House Speaker Beth Harwell and Reps. William Lamberth of Portland, Jon Lundberg of Bristol, Pat Marsh of Shelbyville, Steve McDaniel of Parkers Crossroads (who chaired a House panel investigating Durham) and Cameron Sexton of Crossville. Harwell gave $500 through her PAC and $1,500 from what appears on Whitson’s disclosure to be a donation in personal funds.
State Transportation Commissioner John Schorer kicked in $500 while state Supreme Court Justice Connie Clark gave $250.
Whitson’s report for the period July 1-25 shows about $17,000 in PAC money – the biggest chunk being $7,445 from Stand for Children, a group that, through an affiliated PAC’s independent expenditures, has otherwise spent heavily on ads attacking Durham and/or supporting Whitson. PACS sending Whitson money in more modest amounts include those representing hospitals, an insurance company, a payday loan group and other special interests that had in prior years supported Durham.
In all, Whitson reported just over $66,000 in contributions in July, more than doubling the $28,175 in donations received from April through June. Whitson’s disclosure for that period, prior to release off the attorney general’s report but with much attention to Durham’s misbehavior in media reporting,shows only one donation from a legislator — House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick gave $1,500 – and two PAC donations. One of the latter was from Stand PAC; the other a $2,000 gift from Franklin Firefighters PAC.
Whitson reported $66,226 cash on hand as of July 25.
Durham’s July 1-25 report shows only one donation — $500 from a PAC received before he suspended his campaign. He still had a balance of $116,711 cash on hand.