published Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

U.S. Senate hopefuls ready to rumble

NASHVILLE — With early voting kicking off Friday in Tennessee's Aug. 7 party primaries, the three major U.S. Senate Republicans' latest campaign finance disclosures show they're ready to rumble.

After spending $623,840 in the second quarter, incumbent Sen. Lamar Alexander is reporting having $3.41 million in his campaign war chest as of June 30, according to his Federal Election Commission disclosure.

Alexander reported raising raising $867,880 in net contributions during the April 1 through June 30 reporting period.

Memphis physician, businessman and multimillionaire George Flinn, meanwhile, is making up for his late entry into the GOP primary with a $1.8 million personal loan, his first federal campaign disclosure shows.

He reported raising just $7,000 from five individual contributors. He spent much of his reported $146,331 in expenditures on cable and radio advertising.

And on June 30 Flinn still had $1.66 million in cash on hand.

State Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas, the third major candidate in the GOP primary, reported raising $217,819 during the reporting period. He spent $387,384 and had a $442,221 cash balance as of June 30.

While Carr lags in funding, he's hoping to draw independent expenditures from national tea party groups.

Candidates running in the Senate Democratic primary include Knoxville attorneys Terry Adams and Gordon Ball. Ball, like Flinn, is a self-made millionaire.

Ball has said he is prepared to spend up to $400,000 out of his pocket to win the Democratic nomination. But no information was available about either his or Adams' second-quarter reports Tuesday or Wednesday and the campaigns did not respond to requests by the Times Free Press.

The Alexander, Carr and Flinn campaigns all responded Tuesday, the filing deadline, to the newspaper's request for copies of the first pages of their FEC reports, which contain bottom line information on contributions, loans, expenditures and cash on hand.

Unlike the U.S. House presidential candidates, the U.S. Senate decades ago set it up so candidates do not file directly with the Federal Election Commission. Instead, senators and other candidates file with the Senate Secretary's office.

The information is later forwarded to the FEC and that takes time.

In another campaign developments on Wednesday, the Knoxville News Sentinel's editorial page endorsed Adams in the Democratic primary.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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