published Monday, November 7th, 2011

Obama leads in fundraising from Hamilton County donors

by Chris Carroll

by Naomi Jagoda
President Barack Obama greets the crowd before his speech in this file photo.
President Barack Obama greets the crowd before his speech in this file photo.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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Have you ever donated more than $100 to a political campaign?

The presidential candidate who has collected the most individual donations from Hamilton County this year is the president himself.

"I'm not going to say I've liked the way he's done everything, but I'm a Democrat," said Nancy Phillips, a Hixson retiree who donated $300 to the president. "I can't imagine voting for any of the Republican candidates."

But the collective Republican field has outraised President Barack Obama $37,723 to $23,929 this year in the county, records show.

Of 10 Republican candidates, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney collected the most local money. He reported $16,745 between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, the last day for which fundraising information is available.

"He's a conservative -- he's going to carry that through once he's elected," said Emerson Russell, a Chattanooga businessman who gave $2,500 to Romney. "And if they had anything dirty on him, they would have already brought it out."

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas ($7,328); businessman Herman Cain ($5,350); former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman ($5,000); and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota ($2,000) round out Hamilton County's Republican top five.


The GOP field together outshone the president despite a paltry showing from Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who reported no Hamilton County donations. Even former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum reported fundraising here.

Candidates must identify individuals who give them more than $200 in an election cycle, meaning Perry could have collected small donations without reporting them. Perry announced his candidacy on Aug. 13, giving the campaign six weeks to collect donations before submitting fundraising information to the federal government.

Perry's poor Hamilton County showing contrasts with his statewide fundraising abilities. So far he has raised $347,176 in Tennessee, second only to Romney, who reported $386,330. The president takes Tennessee's bronze with $270,139, records show.

Obama has eclipsed the amount he raised to this point in 2007, when the senator from Illinois reported $15,063 from Hamilton County. But only four of 19 early donors from 2007 have given to the Obama re-election campaign to this point.

"While it is too early to tell, it may show some discouragement on the part of major Democratic contributors," said Richard Wilson, a political science professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Because Obama had to win a primary last time around, liberals "don't have quite the same motive" to contribute this early, Wilson said. But a GOP nominee "with enough negatives" could inspire a local windfall for Obama, he said.

The overwhelming majority of Hamilton County donations came from Chattanooga where, after Obama and Romney, Huntsman received the third-greatest amount of money -- $5,000 split evenly between one married couple. Residents from some municipalities, Soddy-Daisy and Red Bank among them, didn't donate at all.


East Ridge, on the other hand, hosts Hamilton County's most prolific contributor. In nine installments, ceramics engineer Rich Beecher donated $2,499 -- a dollar below the maximum -- to Paul. After Beecher inadvertently donated $76 over the limit, the Paul campaign telephoned him.

"They asked if I wanted it back or if I wished to have it donated by my wife, and I chose the latter," Beecher said. "He supports a strong military and national defense ... but not going around and attacking every country on this earth."

Like Perry, Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota who dropped out of the race in August, did not report any donations from Hamilton County. Neither did Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico who wants to decriminalize marijuana.

Tennessee hosts a Republican presidential primary on March 6. State GOP Chairman Chris Devaney said that Volunteer State voters will play a big role in determining the Republican nominee because the primary is fairly early in the year.

Tennessee has voted for the Republican nominee in the last three general elections. The state GOP will not endorse in the primary but will support the eventual nominee, Devaney said.

"Tennessee will be a strong part of the equation in defeating President Obama," he added.

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sandyonsignal said...

Hamilton County is getting bluer every day. Go Obama! 2012! This is great to see and I nor my friends have sent anything, YET.

November 7, 2011 at 6:48 a.m.
Facts said...

Sandyonsignal's right. Hamilton Co is getting less conservative. There is and has been absolutely no activity from the local GOP in years. The local Tea Party has had the guts to take on Ron Littlefield, but its support of Ron Paul and Van Irion who didn't even live in the district he was running for has caused me to be a regular attender to meetings but nothing more. We have now and have had only politicians committed to themselves who benefit from a conservative party but never does a thing to make it stronger. Chuck began losing me last year when he refused to pay his $2000 to support the local GOP dinner. So, Sandyonsignal is correct. Congratulations GOP elected officials.

November 7, 2011 at 8:40 a.m.
MountainJoe said...

Facts, what's wrong with supporting someone who supports the Constitution?

November 7, 2011 at 8:46 a.m.
MountainJoe said...

"No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen." You don't HAVE to live in the district to be a Representative; you just have to live in the state.

November 7, 2011 at 8:47 a.m.
MountainJoe said...

Not sure why sandyonsignal is feeling so celebratory. "But the collective Republican field has outraised President Barack Obama $37,723 to $23,929 this year in the county ..." If that's "getting bluer every day" then how is she going to feel when the votes are cast in the same proportion?

November 7, 2011 at 8:50 a.m.
Facts said...

There's nothing wrong with supporting anyone who supports the Constitution, but Ron Paul wants to be friends with Iran (published), he sent a letter just this last week that increasing taxes would assist in the Super Committee's work, he has no plans to support Israel. I'm not going to waste my day on this, but this is the very reason the Tea Party is losing credibility. There is a cult following of Ron Paul and whatever candidate's deemed the One-see Van Irion, oh that's right, he doesn't live here, so we've not seen him since he lost. I may have attended my last Tea Party meeting. I don't want to be associated with pot-heads who want to see Iran with nuclear weapons.

November 7, 2011 at 9:03 a.m.
jgmason75 said...

Remember when the GOP increased its control over the Hamilton County Commission to a 7-2 majority in August 2010? Fact is, Hamilton County has never been redder and will only continue to maintain or strengthen its majority stronghold locally:

November 7, 2011 at 11:44 a.m.

Giving money to re-elect this POTUS reminds of a old idiom: To throw good money after bad.

November 7, 2011 at 12:55 p.m.

@ lesliesmart - "He trippled the number of troops in afghanistan", yep and delivered the justice needed for Osama! "spent a few billion getting rid of ghaddafi", Yep another success! "sent 100 green barrets into uganda ", Indeed and it was needed! "has been murdering terrorists left and right since day one with his stepped up drone strikes....even american citizens like al awlaki.", Name one person Bush brought to justice? Thats right "Zero" he was to busy sneaking Goldman &Sachs out the back door with bags of money to do his job. No one that denounces his country is a citizen!! If a money changing Republican was in office we wouldn't hear any complaints. Mostly because he wouldn't have accomplished a single thing!!

November 7, 2011 at 1:10 p.m.
RickyRedneck said...

A bumper sticker on the front of my car features pictures of Bush and Obama with the words "Nothing Changed". On the domestic front, the Federal Government continues to grow and spend borrowed money; on the international front, the Federal Government continues to attack & bomb various countries & send "Foreign Aid" to the rest. It is no wonder that our Nation is about bankrupt.

No doubt, George Washington was being naive when he warned against foreign adventures, both "Habitual Hatred" and "Habitual Fondness" for foreign countries, as well as entangling alliances. James Madison was being naive when he warned us that "no nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare" as well as "if tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy". Jefferson was a fool to advocate "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none". He indeed sounded like a skinflint when he stated "The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force". The great Alexander Solzenitsyn warned us that "A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny".

Hasn't anybody figured out that with George Bush and Barrack Obama having pursued the same policies and actions might be a good reason to distrust and question those policies. Some folks claim that little Iran, which might develop primitive nuclear weapons 10 years from now, poses more of a threat than the Soviet Union, with its tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, did. They advocate attacking Iran, duplicating Hitler's tactics with Poland. It is suggested that some of you, instead of spending your time watching CNN, MSNBC, or FOX, read some of the writings of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, & Madison.

Dr. Ron Paul is the closest candidate you can get to Washington, Jefferson, & Madison. The rest are just imitators of Benito Mussolini.

November 7, 2011 at 2:05 p.m.
EaTn said...

With the GOP lighting torches to itself every day, Obama can win 2012 by renting a few bill boards.

November 7, 2011 at 3:45 p.m.
EaTn said...

Or the DNC doing a commercial with the latest blonde whispering in a phone "call me Herman".

November 7, 2011 at 4:16 p.m.
dpall738 said...

EaTn - Looks like you're confusing the DNC with Bob Corker's 2006 crusade against Harold Ford, Jr. Good try though.

November 7, 2011 at 4:50 p.m.
dude_abides said...

dpall738, I think he's trashing Corker, not the DNC.

Strike 4 Herman!

November 7, 2011 at 7:25 p.m.
dpall738 said...

My bad, EaTn - didn't see your previous comment. I'm with you now!

November 7, 2011 at 8:14 p.m.
wethepeople said...

What a misleading article as well as the faulty conclusions from some of the comments here. Counting the tally of one of one socialist democrat against the tally of one of ten republicans is such a misleading headline. But I guess we should be used to it from certain reporters. Further, for some readers to then conclude that $23k in donations to our socialist President versus $37k in donations to the collective republican field qualifies for Chattanooga becoming more blue is a puzzling conclusion.

November 7, 2011 at 9:21 p.m.
acerigger said...

wethepeople said... "$23k in donations to our socialist President versus $37k in donations to the collective republican field qualifies for Chattanooga becoming more blue is a puzzling conclusion." Do the math,you'll figure it out.

November 7, 2011 at 9:55 p.m.
hambone said...

$23K to one candidate and $37K split 8 ways.

Obama just needs to save his and wait. The GOPers will spend theirs cutting each other down!!

November 7, 2011 at 11:44 p.m.
JustOneWoman said...

we the people said....."What a misleading article"..... I say, What a misleading name "we the people" cause you are not speaking for me, and I am one of those people. Your screen name has the "we", but you keep talking "I" and "me", what you think, and disregarding all the other people that make up the "we". I actually can do math, so don't speak for me.

December 5, 2011 at 10:33 a.m.
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