Cotton Continues to Hold Fundraising Advantage in the Fourth

by Jason Tolbert ([email protected]) 110 views 

Financial reports from the first quarter of 2012 continue to show that Tom Cotton has the money advantage by a landslide over his Republican primary opponents, Beth Anne Rankin and John Cowart.

In the first quarter, Cotton for Congress reported raising $352,000 for nearly $900,000 in total contributions raised.  Rankin for Congress, by contrast, raised $127,236 for the same period for a total of $378,379.  Lagging even further behind, Cowart raised $9,796 for the quarter and has raised $15,319 in total.

Perhaps even more importantly, Cotton has a huge cash advantage for money available to spend on the primary with around $638,000 cash-on-hand, of which around $550,000 can be spent for the primary.  Rankin has $234,818 cash-on-hand with an estimated $182,000 available for the primary.

This gives Cotton about a three-to-one money advantage for the primary.

“I am humbled by the outpouring of support from our many volunteers, donors, and friends. Whether they give of their time, money, or labor, our grassroots team is working tirelessly to send a strong conservative leader to represent the Fourth District in Washington. I will fight to repeal ObamaCare, promote free-market solutions to our stagnant economy, and defend Arkansas values and America’s national security,” said Cotton in his release.

Rankin put the best spin she could by touting the percentage of funds she received from inside Arkansas – a reoccurring theme in her campaign.

“I’m grateful to all my supporters and donors who continue to show the strength of this Arkansas-based grassroots campaign. I want to be a Representative of the people, by the people, and for the people of Arkansas,” Rankin said pointing out that 90 percent of her donors are from within the state.

It will be interesting to watch this race as it comes down the stretch with only about three weeks before early voting starts and a little over a month before the May 22 primary.  The standard school of thought is that Rankin – having run as the Republican nominee in 2010 – comes in with a bigger name ID than Cotton, who will have to spend his money to close the gap.

The only internal poll leaked by either campaign is very old from November of last year from Rankin for Congress and is consistent with this school of thought.  The poll showed Rankin with name recognition of 80 percent, with 40 percent saying they planned to vote for her.  Cotton was unknown at that time with only 32 percent polled having heard of him.

However, this poll does show that while most of the district voters have heard of Rankin, only around half of these voters planned to vote for her leaving an opportunity for Cotton.  I have also heard anecdotal reports that Cotton’s early ad buys have begun to move the numbers in his favor.