McWherter leads Democrats in funds for governor's race

McWherter leads Democrats in funds for governor's race

February 2nd, 2010 by Matt Wilson and Chris Carroll in Politics State

During the last half of 2009, state Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle finished first among Democrats in fundraising for Tennessee's upcoming gubernatorial election.

Sen. Kyle's campaign collected a little more than $740,000 in contributions during the period between July 1 to Jan. 15, according to state campaign finance documents. He had about $588,000 on hand at the end of the period, which was his first since entering the race.

"Looking at the numbers I've seen, our campaign is on track to raise what we'll need to run this successful campaign," said campaign manager Katy Cutright. "We're excited about it."

Beer distributor and bank board Chairman Mike McWherter, son of former Gov. Ned McWherter, raised a little less than $403,000, bringing his fundraising total to about $1.05 million. He had about $620,000 on hand at the end of the fundraising period.

The McWherter campaign could not be reached for comment Monday night.

Former state Rep. Kim McMillan raised a little over $160,000 this period, bringing her total to about $462,000. She had nearly $100,000 on hand at the end of the period.

"One thing we're focused on is the number of donors, not necessarily the dollars raised," said Joe Livoti, McMillan campaign treasurer. "If you want to look at how strong the message is resonating with the electorate, the number of donors is a stronger indication than money raised."

On the Republican side, Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam leads the pack with $5.73 million raised since the start of the campaign, about $1.81 million of that coming in the period from July 1 to Jan. 15.

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., amassed more than $1.31 million in the same period, bringing his total to nearly $2.6 million.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, reported $1.42 million during the last half of 2009, while Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons' campaign raised $223,000. Those additions bring their totals to $2.75 million and $640,000, respectively.

Gubernatorial fundraising


Mike McWherter: $1.05 million

State Sen. Jim Kyle: $740,000

Kim McMillan: $462,000


Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam: $5.73 million

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey: $2.75 million

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp: $2.6 million

Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons: $640,000

Source: State campaign finance documents