Fourth quarter and year-end campaign finance reports filed by Alabama’s 2020 congressional candidates indicate Mobile County Commissioner Jerry Carl has a sizable lead in District 1 fundraising efforts over his Republican contenders, while U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne has a million-dollar lead over Tommy Tuberville in the GOP Senate race.
In reports released Jan. 31, Carl reported $964,209.10 in total receipts during the campaign to Bill Hightower’s $663,456. Chris Pringle reported the third-highest total, with $394,666.70 in receipts, while Wes Lambert reported $175,564.96.
Carl was the first to announce his candidacy for Byrne’s seat when Byrne announced he would challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, and in a statement released last week, said he currently has about $700,000 cash on hand.
“Since being the first to announce his candidacy in February of 2019, Carl has continually led all his opponents in fundraising,” the statement reads. “His substantial cash on hand advantage has him well positioned for the March 3 Republican primary.… While the other candidates compete for money and favors from the Montgomery insiders, Carl is putting out a strong conservative message articulating how, like Trump, he has the backbone to fight for real conservative values.”
But campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) indicate nearly half of Carl’s total receipts come not from donor contributions, but from $455,000 in personal loans he’s contributed to the campaign in four separate installments from March to December of last year. Carl lists just $498,853.60 in individual contributions, which is actually less than Hightower’s total of $645,747.21.
Restaurateur Wes Lambert and retired intelligence officer John Castorani appear to be the only two other Republican House candidates to contribute personal loans to their campaigns. Last August, Lambert loaned $110,000 to his own campaign, which represents 62 percent of his total receipts. Eighty-nine percent of Castorani’s total receipts come from $15,159.68 in personal loans he contributed to his campaign in October and November of last year.
On the Democratic side of the House race, Kiani Gardner leads with $41,568.94 in individual contributions, bolstering a $3,000 loan she gave to her campaign last year. James Averhart reported $8,935.53 in total contributions, which does not include $23,000 in personal loans.
In the Senate race, Byrne’s $3,346,236.20 in total receipts pales in comparison to Jones’s $7,601,427.68, while Jones also reported 40 percent more cash on hand than Byrne. Byrne has raised about $1.08 million in his Senate campaign, while another $2,261,083.69 was transferred over from his House campaign account.
Comparatively, Tuberville lent himself $1 million to kick start his campaign last June, but he has raised more than $1.3 million in individual contributions since, beating Byrne’s amount.
State Rep. Arnold Mooney reported $787,088.30 in total contributions last year, beating fourth-place Jeff Sessions, who reported $429,114.
But Sessions also reported the highest amount of cash on hand amongst the Republican field, with about $2.54 million at the end of the year.
These will be the last reports filed before the primary election March 3. The FEC’s April quarterly reports are due March 31.
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