Grant Starrett spends more than $400,000 in second quarter on race against Rep. Scott DesJarlais

Grant Starrett spends more than $400,000 in second quarter on race against Rep. Scott DesJarlais

July 16th, 2016 by Andy Sher in Local Regional News

Grant Starrett and Scott DesJarlais are pictured in this composite photo.

Grant Starrett and Scott DesJarlais are pictured in...

NASHVILLE ­— Republican Grant Starrett's second quarter disclosure shows he spent $407,000 on his 4th Congressional District GOP primary challenge to U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais. And he still had more than $500,000 in the bank on June 30, two weeks before Tennessee early voting in the Aug. 4 election began on Friday.

In comparison, DesJarlais spent just $86,393 during the April 1 to June 30 period, according to his disclosure on Friday with the Federal Election Commission.

Starrett had $567,186 in cash on hand while three-term incumbent DesJarlais reported $323,000.

A 28-year-old attorney living in Murfreesboro, Starrett went on television in early June and is spending heavily on television broadcast and cable ads, along with radio and other communications. The campaign has previously estimated it would spend some $400,000.

DesJarlais plans to go on television this coming week. The largely rural 4th District covers all or parts of 16 counties, stretching east from the city of Cleveland to Murfreesboro in the west. The primary media markets are Chattanooga and Nashville.

The two candidates' disclosures, which were due Friday, also show Starrett, an attorney who moved to Murfreesboro to run, and DesJarlais, a 52-year-old South Pittsburg physician, nearly matched each other in contributions during the second quarter.

Starrett, who personally loaned his campaign $476,561 last year and earlier this year, reported raising $66,122 during the second quarter. DesJarlais raised $63,414.

The disclosures also show that Starrett, a conservative activist who originally is from the Las Angeles area and moved to Tennessee to attend Vanderbilt University Law School, continues to receive most of his contributions from outside the 4th District.

Most of the $42,664 that DesJarlais raised from individual contributors came from within the district or Tennessee. The remainder of his $66,414 haul — $20,750 — came from political action committees.

Starrett reported to the FEC that he spent about $170,000 on ad placements in the second quarter.

One striking detail from Starrett's disclosure is the extent of his field operation as the candidate seeks to reach likely Republican voters in the 4th District. He's spent thousands to pay 39 workers. The campaign tries to visit each likely GOP primary voter's home three times, with Starrett at least sometimes accompanying them.

The campaign recently announced it has made more than 90,000 such contact efforts.

Early voting in the Aug. 4 primary continues through July 30.