NASHVILLE - Gov. Bill Haslam said today he remains undecided on whether he will seek to raise funds from supporters to pay off $3.49 million in loans he made to his 2010 campaign.
"I actually don't have a plan yet around paying that debt back to me," Haslam said. "At some point in time we'll sit down, once kind of all the dust clears from everything. We'll decide whether we start paying ourselves back or if we'll just leave that debt. I honestly haven't decided yet."
Haslam's fourth-quarter disclosure, due today, shows he spent an estimated $16.7 million in his successful Nov. 2 general election and Aug. 5 GOP primary campaigns.
In the report, which covers the period from Oct. 24 to Jan. 15, Haslam disclosed an ending balance of $636,685.81 in cash on hand.
Haslam handily defeated Democrat Mike McWherter in November but had a tougher GOP primary fight last August against then-U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, the state Senate speaker.
Asked by reporters today whether the costs were worth it, Haslam said, "We all along said we would run a campaign to win. I felt like we did that and got our message out. I don't have any regrets about the approach we took at all."
He noted his campaign had a "record number of people" who contributed to his campaign.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.