NASHVILLE — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is reporting he hauled in $684,900 in campaign cash during the first half of this year for his 2022 re-election effort.
After spending $357,000 so far, the governor reported having $2.4 million in cash as of June 30.
Among Lee's donors was transgender billionaire businesswoman Jennifer Pritzker of Nashville, even though Pritzker had warned Lee and GOP lawmakers she was seriously considering moving her family's private trust operation out of Tennessee as lawmakers pushed anti-LGBTQ measures later signed into law by the governor.
Pritzker contributed $1,000 to Lee on June 23, according to Lee's mid-year disclosure to the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance.
His largest single contribution during the period was $12,700 from Gresham Smith, a Nashville architectural firm.
Southeast Tennessee donors included Robert Decosimo, a Signal Mountain CPA with Elliott Davis Decosimo who along with other family members went all-in for Lee in his 2018 race.
Decosimo and his wife, Amy, along with other family members heavily backed Lee in his successful 2018 race in which the political newcomer overcame more experienced candidates in the GOP primary before winning in the general election. Decosimo and his wife, Amy, each gave $4,400, with money going toward both Lee's primary and general election efforts.
Lee's 2018 campaign manager and one-time special assistant after he became governor, Chris Devaney of Lookout Mountain, contributed $1,000, raising Devaney's total contributions to Lee for the 2022 cycle to $3,100.
The governor has raised some $3.6 million since his 2018 election and spent $1.85 million. The Tennessee Journal reported Friday his largest contributor so far this cycle was the Pharma Tennessee PAC, which has given $47,600 so far.
In terms of spending, the governor's largest payout in his mid-year disclosure was $193,000 to Kaegi Resources, a GOP political fundraising firm run by Kim Kaegi. That raises the total amount Lee has paid to Kaegi since the start of 2019 to $304,000.
Lee also reported spending $43,000 with the Republican polling firm The Tarrance Group.
Some spending was far more modest. The governor paid Royal Restrooms of Tennessee equipment $1,500 on March 29 for an unspecified event.
A businessman and millionaire, Lee also disclosed he has so far made no effort to repay the $4.58 million in loans he made to his 2018 campaign.
Contact Andy Sher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.