With nearly $600,000 in new donations entering the mayoral race since the general election, Kim White is nearing $1 million in outside donations and Tim Kelly has more than doubled his general election fundraising in just five weeks.
According to financial disclosures filed Tuesday with the Hamilton County Election Commission, Chattanooga mayoral runoff candidates White and Kelly both made big fundraising progress over the last month, compared to the general election.
White continued to out-fundraise Kelly, as she has on each of their disclosures throughout the race, reporting an additional $350,000 in the little over a month since the last financial reporting deadline and bringing her total contributions to over $984,000.
As she nears $1 million in fundraising, White said she is riding a "surge of support" into the last week of the campaign.
"We are entering the final week of this campaign with an overwhelming surge of support," she said in a statement Tuesday. "From the beginning, we have measured our ability to reach and rally voters through what is tangible: our growing volunteer base, countless conversations with supporters, thousands of voters who cast ballots and unbelievable funds raised."
According to the campaign, as of Tuesday White had received 450 individual donations in the runoff election and 1,425 total, 40% of which were $200 or less and 50% of which were $250 or less.
White said she believes that the number of financial supporters offsets polling released last week, which shows her 13 points behind Kelly.
"Unlike irrelevant polls that have consistently underestimated us, this filing directly reflects the true strength of our campaign," White said. "We look to Election Day with incredible optimism for the future of our city."
White spent about $317,000 this period on events, advertising and campaign staff, leaving her with about $92,000 on hand going into the last week.
In the same time period, Kelly more than doubled his general election fundraising, receiving $240,000 in 35 days, bringing him to about $450,000 in total outside fundraising.
"When I launched this campaign, I knew this wasn't going to be a typical election cycle. As Chattanooga faced a pandemic, our city needed a different approach to politics. Our campaign was able to talk directly to families in need and build a real plan for the first 100 days of our administration," Kelly said. "Ginny and I have been so moved by the outpouring of support that we've received, and that's why we're seeing grassroots support and real momentum on our side in the final days of this campaign."
Kelly has spent the most of either camp with $519,000 in expenditures over just the last period going toward phone bankers, media and advertising, and hosting campaign events.
The Kelly campaign has apparently upped fundraising efforts since the general election, hosting an event and posting its highest yield of any disclosure to date. But most of his funds still come from the more than $1 million he has lent his own campaign, including an additional $100,000 in this reporting period.
Now, with a week left, Kelly is left with about $24,000 on hand.
"But this campaign has never been about money. By keeping our campaign's focus on Chattanooga rather than outside interests, we've been able to build the most diverse and representative coalition in this race," he added. "And while we didn't make fundraising the primary focus of this campaign, we can see momentum in the growing number of grassroots contributions and residents who have been instrumental in helping us bring our city together for a common purpose."
According to the release, the Kelly campaign has knocked on more than 10,200 doors and made over 24,000 personal phone calls and texts. But, even with significant endorsements and increased fundraising, the campaign recognizes the race isn't over yet.
"We're deeply grateful for over 300 endorsements Tim has received throughout the course of the race," campaign manager Rachel Hanson said. "But we aren't there yet. We know this election is going to be close, and we're encouraging every single voter to get out and make their voices heard."
Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @_sarahgtaylor.