Tennessee Senate District 10 race: Democrat Scruggs outraises Sen. Gardenhire in 2nd quarter, but GOP lawmaker has more cash on hand

Martin Hershey walks into the Hamilton County Election Commission building during the third day of early voting in the Tennessee statewide primary elections on Monday, July 20, 2020 in Chattanooga. (Troy Stolt/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)

NASHVILLE - Democrat Glenn Scruggs raised $37,363 for his state Senate District 10 bid during the second quarter with the Chattanooga assistant police chief reporting a cash balance of $34,464.

While Scruggs out-raised Republican incumbent Sen. Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga, who reported $7,775 in contributions during the April 1-June 30 period, Gardenhire has a war chest totaling $102,443.

Scruggs said the contributions show "our community is invested in this race." Alluding to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the loss of jobs as well as local and national civil unrest, the assistant chief, who is Black, said he has spent much of his time "working directly with community members to ensure that protests remain peaceful. That direct interaction has allowed me the opportunity to hear from Chattanoogans."

Scruggs said his effort in the district, which includes portions of Hamilton and Bradley counties, is "people-powered" and added he wants to "speak for working people in this district. That's who we are and that's who I represent. Let corporations give their money to Todd, he's their representative anyway."

Gardenhire noted he faced restrictions on fundraising during parts of the period because lawmakers were in session and there were also prohibitions on raising money from political action committees during a lengthy legislative recess due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I'll do enough to meet my budget standards," Gardenhire said. "I'll be able to raise enough money to run my campaign as I see fit."

He noted he also was busy campaigning as well as working on COVID-19 and state government-related financial issues.

"We've got a budget, we got a plan and we'll be instituting that plan all along after the primary," said Gardenhire, who like Scruggs has no opponent in the Aug. 6 party primary for which early voting continues through Aug. 1.

The senator reported five contributions, the largest from Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, the Republican speaker from Oak Ridge, who gave $3,200. Next was $2,500 from the Tennessee Realtors PAC. Former Hamilton County Trustee Carl Levi gave $1,000.

Scruggs' largest contribution during the reporting period was $3,200 from Lookout Mountain architect Thomas Faulkner, who split the donation with $1,600 going toward Scruggs' primary campaign and another $1,600 to the candidate's general election effort. Those making $1,600 contributions during the quarter included investment manager Robert Mills of Lookout Mountain and Paul Neely of Chattanooga. Olan Mills of Lookout Mountain gave $1,200, while Norma Mills contributed $400.

Scruggs reported spending $14,616 during the second quarter, the largest expenditure totaling $6,526 for campaign workers.

Gardenhire reported $404.54 in expenditures, with $311.54 of that going to the Mountain City Club for a meeting with Hamilton County and state school board members.

Fleischmann: $1.7 million in cash on hand

Republican U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Ooltewah is reporting $1.7 million in cash on hand in his expected Nov. 3 general election contest with Democrat Meg Gorman of Chattanooga in Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District.

During the second quarter, Fleischmann reported raising net contributions of $68,700 and spending $41,681. His contributors included Erlanger Health Services Vice President Steve Johnson, who gave $2,600, and Donald Jarrell of Ooltewah, owner of Dumpster Solutions, who contributed $2,600 to Fleischmann for his primary and another $2,400 for the general election.

Gorman, who works for Whole Foods, reported raising $32,303, spending $5,665.54 and having $28,562 in cash on hand. Her contributors included Olan Mills, who gave $2,800 for her primary campaign and another $2,800 for her general election effort. Norma Mills contributed $2,800 in the primary. Gorman has no primary opponent.

Democrat in 4th Congressional District raises nearly $100,000

Murfreesboro Democrat Chris Hale out-raised incumbent Tennessee Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais during the second quarter, with the self-described "pro-life" and "Christian populist" Hale reporting receiving nearly $100,000 from supporters.

DesJarlais, a South Pittsburg physician, reported raising $20,653 to the Federal Election Commission during the April 1-June 30 reporting period. The five-term incumbent reported that he had $506,830 in cash on hand as of June 30.

After spending $36,984, Hale reported a $62,034 cash balance.

Hale, who unsuccessfully sought his party's nomination in the 4th District two years ago, has amassed 34,200 followers on Twitter with his sometimes provocative tweets. The bulk of his contributions - $71,162 - came from donors giving less than $200, many of them through the ActBlue online fundraising platform used by Democratic candidates and committees, progressive organizations and nonprofits.

Among those making contributions above that was Lendell Sherrell of Monteagle, state Democrats' 2014 nominee against DesJarlais, who gave $250. Cleveland attorney Jimmy Logan gave $2,800.

Tennessee donors to DesJarlais, a one-time South Pittsburg physician who now lives in Franklin County's Sherwood community, included $1,000 from Kenneth Purser, a Farm Bureau Insurance agent in Dayton, and $750 from Lisa Cope of Spencer, CEO of Ben Lomand, a broadband and telephone provider.

U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., gave $4,000 to DesJarlais, while the House Freedom Fund gave $5,000. The House Conservatives Fund gave $1,000.

Also running in the 4th Congressional District Democratic primary is Novelle Bivens of Murfreesboro. She filed a statement with the FEC saying her committee "raised or spent more than $5000 quarter-to-date from April 1 through June 30," but provided no details.

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