U.S. Sen. Bob Corker far ahead in campaign fundraising

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker far ahead in campaign fundraising

Senator claims more campaign money than seven presidential candidates

November 8th, 2011 by Chris Carroll in News

U.S. Senator Bob Corker is seen in this file photo.

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.

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U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., has attracted three opponents in his quest for re-election. Here are their campaign totals as of Sept. 30:

  • Bob Corker (R) -- $6.5 million
  • Zach Poskevich (R) -- $7,034
  • James Durkan (R) -- $3,756
  • Larry Crim (D) -- $779

Source: Federal Election Commission

On Feb. 28, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker's campaign spent $14,115 on event invitations and envelopes.

Seven months later, Corker's three registered 2012 challengers filed campaign finance documents. The grand total among Larry Crim, James Durkan and Zach Poskevich: $11,569.

The comparison illustrates the distance between three under-the-radar hopefuls and Corker, a man who claims more campaign money than seven presidential candidates, including Herman Cain and Ron Paul.

Over the last three months, Corker has raised $1.2 million in campaign donations, swelling his balance to more than $6.5 million, finance records show.

In an emailed statement, Corker Chief of Staff Todd Womack said the campaign is "very grateful" to Tennesseans who appreciate the senator's "common sense [and] business approach to issues, particularly his work to force the federal government to live within its means."

Henderson technology consultant Poskevich has called Corker's campaign "corporate-driven."

Durkan, a Chattanooga merchant whose campaign business card says "Donations Readily Accepted," echoed populist themes on his website: "I do not expect the wealthiest citizens will do much in funding this campaign."

Both Poskevich and Durkan are tea party challengers.

Special interest money has flowed to Corker, while nearly 30 percent of donations to Durkan and Poskevich came from various people named Durkan and Poskevich, records show.

Corker has reported more donations from general contractors, the automotive industry and commercial banks since last November than anyone else in Congress, according to the Tennessean.

A member of the Senate's Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Corker has received $204,400 from commercial-bank employees and political action committees linked to those banks, including $4,000 from SunTrust and $4,500 from Bank of America.

The Republican and former Chattanooga mayor voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which allowed the government to purchase bank assets and equity at the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

Corker also wants to repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, legislation that imposed tighter regulations on banks and lowered debit card overdraft fees.

Records show Crim, Durkan and Poskevich have collected no money from PACs.

"There's no doubt it's a money issue," Poskevich said.

Crim could not be located for comment. So far he's the only Democrat who has entered the race.

"I fully expect there to be a Democratic primary in the Senate race," said Brandon Puttbrese, spokesman for the Tennessee Democratic Party.

Contact staff writer Chris Carroll at ccarroll@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6610.