Notes from the Campaign Trail: Joyce Elliott says she raised $1.4 million in Q3, Hill tops $1 million

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 1,062 views 

Democratic Congressional candidate Sen. Joyce Elliott says her campaign raised more than $1.4 million in the third quarter (July-Sept. 2020). To date, she’s raised more than $2.5 million.

According to a campaign press release Wednesday (Oct. 7), 96% of the contributions during the quarter were “small-dollar” donations. “The average online donation size was $40, the lowest for any quarter in the campaign thus far,” the release stated. It also touted her third quarter fundraising as the “highest quarterly fundraising total in a U.S. House race in Arkansas history” by “more than doubling the previous record.”

UPDATE: Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. French Hill released his numbers for the quarter around midday. Hill said he raised over $1 million during the quarter. “The tremendous showing of support for Congressman French Hill in the third quarter has put our campaign in a strong position as we head into the final weeks of the election,” said Hill’s campaign chairwoman Judith Goodson.

FEC reports are not due until Oct. 15th. Typically, candidates do release “good” fundraising numbers early as a way to add momentum to efforts to raise campaign cash.

As of the end of the second quarter, according to FEC records, Hill had $1.45 million cash-on-hand and Elliott had $719,270 cash-on-hand. Hill had raised $1.9 million as of June 30th, so his Q3 report is likely to push him well over the $2 million threshold for the cycle like Elliott.

Of course in the three months since the June disclosure reports, there has been a ton of money spent by both campaigns on the airwaves in central Arkansas. The bottom line on these war chests – past and present – is that the 2nd Congressional District race has plenty of money for both sides to be extremely competitive this year. Talk Business & Politics will conduct a final poll on this race before the start of the traditional early voting period. A TB&P-Hendrix Poll post-Labor Day showed the Congressional race to be very close with Hill holding a 47.5-46% lead over Elliott.

While Hill and Elliott both have TV ads in circulation, a number of third party groups have been adding to the mix. By our count, there are four super PACs playing in the race.

Congressional Leadership Fund has been attacking Elliott, claiming that she wants to “defund the police,” an assertion the Democrat has refuted. Their ad also says that 911 “will be busy” if she wins in November. Elliott has previously defended her position supporting a vote, along with GOP gubernatorial and legislative support, to raise cell phone fees to fund Arkansas’ 911 system.

The American Bankers Association has been running a positive spot for Hill, a former banker. Its ad, “Accountable,” thanks Hill for his support of the Paycheck Protection Program and other coronavirus relief action.

Elliott responded to that ad by saying, “It’s no surprise that banker French Hill’s struggling campaign has to be bailed out by dark money from big banks. After all, he’s helped them more in Congress than he’s helped the people of Arkansas.”

On the other side of the aisle, the National Education Association started an ad run with a positive message in support of Elliott. The NEA ad touts Elliott’s public service credentials in an ad called “Change takes Courage.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has an ad taking Hill to task using his own words that “it’s been a tough year.” The DCCC ad hits Hill for corporate tax breaks and special interest fundraising, while criticizing his vote to “keep coronavirus relief money secret.”

Hill’s campaign chairwoman Judith Goodson responded, “This attack from Joyce Elliott and her liberal friends in Washington is just plain lazy. Voters know French Hill has been a leader throughout this pandemic, working alongside Governor Hutchinson from the start. When the coronavirus hit, French Hill used his expertise and experience to bring more than $8 billion to our state providing much needed relief to Arkansas families and small businesses. In fact, Governor Hutchinson credits French for that critical funding that ‘saved lives and jobs.’ The truth is that while Joyce Elliott likes to pretend she’s in Congress, French Hill actually is — and Arkansans are thankful for that.”

Elliott launched a new ad Wednesday criticizing Hill for votes to cut Social Security and Medicare. Titled “Secret,” the ad features Elliott on camera saying, “French Hill may not need Social Security or Medicare, but Congress needs more people who do.”

You can view some of the ads that are playing on the airwaves across the 2nd District in the videos below.