Tolbert: Asa Outraises Ross In January, DGA Gets Desperate

by Jason Tolbert (jasontcpa@yahoo.com) 54 views 

The fundraising reports are beginning to trickle in for state candidates for January and it appears to be good news for likely Republican nominee Asa Hutchinson who outraised his Democratic opponent Mike Ross in January fundraising.

For the month of January, Asa pulled in over $121,000 and spent over $125,000.  Most of his expenditures were clearing off a $62,000 personal loan he had made earlier in the campaign, bringing his operating expenditures to about $63,000.  This brought his cash less debt balance up to just under $1.3 million.

For the same month, Ross raised just under $62,000 or about half what Asa took in.  At the same time with over $641,000 in expenditures, he spent nearly ten times what Asa did on his January operations.  That is quite the burn rate which brought his cash balance down to just over $1.9 million.

While still ahead of Ross, you can see on the chart below pulled from the candidates’ reports that Asa is steadily closing this gap.

I will note that a big chunk of Ross’ expenditures – around half a million – was for his television ads.  It looks like those are not airing right now, but the Democratic Governors’ Association put out an ad this week that seeks to match the ad the Republican Governors’ Association put out last week.

The problem is that the DGA ad is really, really bad. Let me explain why.

The ad goes after Asa on two fronts: (1) that at one time in the past he was a lobbyist; and (2) that the firm he was associated with, Venable, lobbied for the “Wall Street Bailout, Detroit Bailout, and Stimulus Bill.”

Here is the issue: neither of these points distinguish Ross from Asa.  First, during his brief retirement from politics Ross worked for Southwest Power Pool as “Senior Vice President for Government Affairs and Public Relations” – a.k.a. a lobbyist.  At least that is what he told ADG’s columnist John Brummett he could call him.

Second, while Venable did lobby for TARP, the stimulus, and the auto bailout, Asa was back in Arkansas practicing law when that was going on.  Where was Ross? He was in Washington D.C. voting for all three – a YEA on TARP, a YEA on the auto bailouts, and a YEA on the Obama stimulus.

So to summarize – the DGA ad attacks Asa for being associated with a firm that lobbied for all of these bills, even though he did not actually do the lobbying, while Ross by comparison voted for all three! Really?

Oh, and for added measure the ad quoted KATV News as saying Asa was “trying to smear Ross.”  The problem? KATV News said no such thing.  Instead the story they mention quotes Ross campaign spokesman Brad Howard as saying that. REALLY!?!

I wonder what Ross thinks about all this “help.”

Here is that graph showing the campaign cash after debt steadily closing…

RossvAsaCash

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