story by Ryan Saylor
Fundraising numbers for the fourth quarter of 2013 have begun to roll in from two statewide campaigns with one reporting its best quarter of fundraising since starting his campaign and another reporting the highest amount raised of any campaign active in Arkansas in 2013.
U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., in the fight of his political life against Tea Party favorite Tom Cotton, a freshman Congressman from Dardanelle, reported raising $5.3 million during all of 2013, with $1.1 million of that coming in during the fourth quarter of the year.
The campaign starts 2014 with $4.2 million cash on hand, something the Pryor campaign said reflects strong grassroots support from across Arkansas.
“Heading into the election year, Mark will have every resource to remind voters about his record as a reliable and responsible voice for Arkansas families, while drawing clear contrasts with Congressman Cotton’s reckless agenda that puts his own interests ahead of Arkansans,” said Jeff Weaver, Pryor for Senate campaign manager.
Cotton, who formally opened his campaign headquarters in Little Rock on Saturday (Jan. 11), said he was not ready to report his fundraising tally for the fourth quarter of 2013.
“Our accountants are still working on it. We’ll have it out before the deadline at the end of the month. We’re just working to try to get as much support as we can across the state,” he said.
Cotton had reported fundraising receipts of $1.073 million during the third quarter of 2013 compared to Pryor’s $1.068 million during the same period last year. His cash on hand at the time was $1.806 million.
In the race for governor, Republican and former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson announced he had raised $445,000 during the last three months of 2013, the campaign's largest fundraising haul to date in a quarter typically marking some of the lowest giving during an election cycle.
After spending $150,000 during the quarter, Hutchinson's campaign was left with $1.3 million cash on hand, about 80% of the funds he has raised during his campaign.
While the figures are the best yet for the Republican, it still pales in comparison to the fundraising numbers put up by presumptive Democratic nominee Mike Ross of Prescott. During his first quarter of the campaign, Ross raised nearly $2 million — the largest amount ever raised during a quarter ever by a gubernatorial candidate in Arkansas. That was followed by another record breaking quarter of $1.12 million, leaving the Ross campaign with almost $2.4 million cash on hand.
Hutchinson said he was pleased to be improving his fundraising numbers.
“We are so pleased to announce the results of our best fundraising quarter ever," he said. "It shows we are gaining momentum and that Arkansans are excited about our vision for Arkansas’s future; a future of job creation, lower taxes and great educational opportunities. I’m grateful for the support that so many have given to me and my campaign for Governor. Together, we will work for Arkansas’s brightest future.”