Haslam dominates governor's race spending

GOVERNOR'S RACE FINANCESFundraising and disbursement totals for the governor's race through June 30Bill Haslam (R)Raised: $8.73 millionSpent: $7.09 millionSelf-endorsed loan: $400,000On hand: $2.04 millionRon Ramsey (R)Raised: $2.81 millionSpent: $1.66 millionSelf-endorsed loan: $200,000On hand: $1.35 millionZach Wamp (R)Raised: $3.92 millionSpent: $2.68 millionBank loan: $61,000On hand: $1.29 millionMike McWherter (D)Raised: $1.46 millionSpent: $895,731Self-endorsed loan: $1 millionOn hand: $1.57 millionSource: Campaign finance reports

NASHVILLE - Bill Haslam continued to dominate fundraising and spending in Tennessee's Republican gubernatorial primary last quarter, filings show, but the Knoxville mayor and multimillionaire for the first time is throwing in some of his own money.

Mr. Haslam's latest state Registry of Election Finance disclosure shows he raised $1.68 million from supporters' contributions between April 1 and June 30.

But on June 9, Mr. Haslam, whose family owns Pilot Corp., which runs a national chain of interstate travel centers, injected $400,000 of his own money into the campaign.

The mayor told reporters on Monday that he was the last candidate to put in his own money or make a loan to his campaign. He isn't ruling out putting in more, he said.

"We have said we're willing to do that," said Mr. Haslam, who is running against Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, for the GOP nomination.

Early voting begins Friday, and candidates are ramping up for an all-out effort before the Aug. 5 election.

Mr. Haslam reported spending $3.5 million in the second quarter, including $2.54 million for television and radio ads. He reported having $2.04 million in cash on hand as of June 30.

Total Haslam fundraising during the 2010 election cycle has hit the $8.7 million mark. He has spent $7.09 million, which includes a total of $3.57 million in advertising and production costs.

"Just because somebody's got a lot of money, they can create a candidate and spend, you know, $20 million or $30 million convincing people that he's somebody that he's not," Rep. Wamp, a Chattanoogan, said of Mr. Haslam. "He's not what he says on guns. He's not what he says he is on taxes."

Rep. Wamp reported raising $838,974 in the second quarter and spending $1.73 million, with $1.41 million going for television advertising and cost of production. He had $1.29 million in cash on hand as of June 30, records show.

Over the course of the campaign, he has raised $3.92 million and spent $2.68 million, records show, and he also took out a $61,000 loan.

Lt. Gov. Ramsey said that, when it comes to the Haslam campaign, "I am fighting a zmachine gun with a derringer."

"If I had $8 million, let me assure you this race would be over right now, and yet he (Haslam) hasn't been able to pull away from us," Lt. Gov. Ramsey said.

In the second quarter, the lieutenant governor reported raising $278,257, the lowest amount of any of the three Republican candidates as well as Democrat candidate Mike McWherter.

As the state Senate speaker, Lt. Gov. Ramsey was hampered by a ban on fundraising during the legislative session. The Legislature adjourned on June 10.

He reported spending $1.13 million, including $873,705 on TV ads and production costs, with an ending cash balance of $1.35 million.