HOUSE’S QUAR­TET re­ports donors.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - FRANK E. LOCK­WOOD

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:

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.”

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