HOUSE’S QUARTET reports donors.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman had the strongest fundraising quarter of any House member from Arkansas, according to campaign finance reports.
The Republican from Hot Springs, who represents the state’s 4th congressional district, listed net contributions of $199,576.
The other three congressmen from Arkansas, all Republicans, also added to their campaign treasuries, their Federal Election Commission filings showed.
The 2nd district incumbent, U.S. Rep. French Hill of Little Rock, brought in $162,444.
His colleague, 1st district U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford of Jonesboro, raised $122,586. U.S. Rep. Steve Womack of Rogers, who serves the state’s 3rd congressional district, collected $95,335.
The campaign finance data for the period between April 1 and June 30 was due Monday and was posted on the FEC’s website: fec.gov.
Reports for the state’s two U.S. senators, Republicans John Boozman of Rogers and Tom Cotton of Dardanelle, had not yet been posted online.
Westerman had expenditures of $28,286 and reported cash on hand of $580,570. Crawford spent $51,174 and had cash on hand of $367,011. Womack had expenditures of $58,401 and cash on hand of $1,218.822. Hill spent $76,706 and had cash on hand of $816,363.
Robert Ryerse, a Springdale pastor who plans to challenge Womack in the Republican party primary, reported $5,237 and cash on hand of the same amount. He had no expenditures.
Paul Spencer, a Democrat from Scott who plans to challenge Hill, reported contributions of $6,592 and expenditures of $6,442. A teacher at Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock, Spencer had $150 in his campaign account at the end of the second quarter.
Josh Mahony, a Fayetteville Democrat who plans to oppose Womack, reported contributions of $11,220, expenditures of $995 and a personal loan of $2,500. He listed cash on hand of $12,725 and a debt of $4,166 owed to a consultant.
No forms had been posted for Democrat Mike Nelson, an Arkansas County businessman and cattle farmer who wants to run against Crawford.
Asked about the latest campaign finance data, University of Arkansas political science professor Janine Parry said, “It doesn’t surprise me a lick.”
“One of the things we know is that money buys access for interest groups and other folks,” she said. “It sort of helps you win friends and influence people, so it makes sense that in a Republican state, most of the investments would go to Republican candidates.”
Republicans, who struggled to raise money a decade or two ago, are finding it easier to raise money now they are the majority party.
“Most people involved in politics back a likely winner,” she said. “We all know that incumbency is, in general, quite an advantage.”
Despite recent Republican dominance, Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Michael John Gray expressed optimism about the next election and predicts Democrats will field “strong, competitive candidates in the congressional races.”
“Over the Spring & Summer, the Democratic Party of Arkansas has kept a laser-like focus on the work that must be done for electoral success in 2018,” he said in a written statement. “From candidate recruitment, to county by county party building, to raising the resources we will need to engage every Arkansan, this party has embraced the hard work it will take to win next November.”