Craig Fitzhugh raises $304,000 for Tennessee governor's race

Craig Fitzhugh raises $304,000 for Tennessee governor's race

January 31st, 2018 by Andy Sher in Politics State

State Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, speaks on the opening day of the legislative session Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE — State House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh says he's satisfied with his gubernatorial campaign's fundraising and believes he will have enough to compete for the Democratic nomination after reporting he raised $304,000 while making a personal $500,000 loan.

"It came from a lot of different sources, small donations," the West Tennessee banker said Wednesday after filing his disclosure Tuesday with state regulators. "So I was very, very happy with that."

"I think we can work our plan," he added.

The disclosure deadline was midnight Wednesday for state candidates to file with the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance.

The Democratic primary is Aug. 2.

His Democratic primary rival, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean Dean, has yet to file his disclosure for the last half of 2017. In July, Dean reported raising $1.2 million.

Fitzhugh's campaign reported $681,885 in cash on hand at the end of 2017. He has raised money from any number of prominent and former Democrat officials and state lawmakers that he served with in the General Assembly in a state Republicans now mostly dominate.

Donors include former Gov. Phil Bredesen, now a U.S. Senate candidate, who gave $1,250, as did Bredesen's wife, Andrea Conte, to Fitzhugh's campaign. U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., gave $1,000 as did former Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Gary Wade and former state Attorney General Bob Cooper.

In what appears to be the lone contribution from Chattanooga, state Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga, gave $500. Former state Rep. Bill Harmon, D-Dunlap, contributed $4,000 with money going both to the primary and general election.

Another former Tennessee attorney general, Paul Summers, contributed $2,000. Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan, a former state House majority leader, gave $500. State Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris, D-Memphis, gave $500, while House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, contributed $1,500. Mike McWherter, Democrats' 2010 gubernatorial nominee and the son of former Gov. Ned McWherter, contributed $1,000 as did former U.S. Rep. John Tanner, a Union City Democrat.

Fitzhugh, meanwhile, put in another $11,800 through his leadership political action committee and received scattered PAC contributions from industry trade groups, including $5,000 from the Tennessee Bankers Association PAC.

The candidate said he believes he will have enough to do "some" television advertising but added, "we're focusing on the grassroots-type campaign, going everywhere, driving to communities, and then social media is a big part of ours, as well."

He said he also hopes for exposure in traditional media.

"We hope to get something going in the local communities across the state, maybe appeal to some rural folks," Fitzhugh said.

On Tuesday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Mae Beavers announced she was suspending her campaign.

Contact staff writer Andy Sher at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.


This story was updated Jan. 31, 2018, at 11:38 p.m.


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