Candidates for the US Senate special election have been working for months to convince voters and donors of the viability of their campaigns. Now the fruits of their labor are laid bare.
US Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and challengers Chris McDaniel and Mike Espy all had their campaign finance reports disclosed on the FEC site today. Senator Hyde-Smith holds a substantial campaign finance advantage at this point.
Cash on Hand
Cindy Hyde-Smith – $1.39 million
Chris McDaniel $156K (with a $55K personal loan)
Mike Espy – $281K (with a $111K personal loan)
Tobey Bartee – NO FILINGS
The amount that Hyde-Smith raised isn’t surprising as the campaign had basically already pre-announced. Raising $1.57 million in contributions is a haul by Mississippi political standards. That will likely make the White House take notice. In terms of names of notable contributors, there are a lot of names on there that you would expect (Lott, Barbour, Mounger, Lampton, Duff, etc.). There was almost an endless parade of PAC contributions. The other notable item is that her expenditures were relatively modest. Spending only $264K while being up with substantial TV buys as much as she has been is noteworthy.
Her report puts her in a really strong position relative to her opponents and will likely be a signal to outside money groups that might want to get involved in the campaign that her campaign house is in order.
McDaniel’s campaign finance operation continues to struggle. At $173K raised for the quarter, McDaniel didn’t even outraise some Mississippi congressional candidates. Spending $160K for the quarter (without any sort of meaningful TV buy), left his cash on hand down $15K from where it was last quarter. That would seem to be a signal to outside money groups that this is going to be a really tough path for McDaniel. There just doesn’t seem to be any sort of wind at his back. Net of the campaign loan, he’s sitting on barely north of six figures in the bank at filing time.
A few notable items from his campaign report. Melanie Sojourner, formerly paid by the Remember Mississippi PAC, is now with the campaign. Also Rick Tyler of Foundry Strategies was paid $10K this quarter before they parted ways. Various members of the Mercer and Uihlein families, which had given substantial money to the PAC, maxed out to McDaniels campaign this quarter.
Mike Espy’s campaign finance report looks as legitimate as any Democrat’s report has looked in Mississippi in recent memory. Espy raised $308K. $111K of that was a loan he made to the campaign. Nevertheless, he only spent $126K leaving him with $281K COH. There were a scad of current and former trial lawyers (all members of the Dickie Scruggs clan maxed out to Espy). There was a good bit of support from leadership PACs from folks like Kamala Harris, Chris Van Hollen and Chuck Schumer. On the expenditure side, he has Chism Strategies and Joe Trippi’s shop engaged as consultants.
The most interesting contributions to Espy were the ones from the Soros family. Yes, that Soros family.
That’s something you’ll probably see on a campaign commercial near the end of this campaign.