Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross reports raising $550,000 in the fourth quarter of 2013 — about $100,000 more than his leading Republican opponent Asa Hutchinson raised — and starts the year with $2.5 million in the bank.
Ross raised $3.65 million during the year, which he claims is a record. Hutchinson raised $1.6 million and started the year with $1.3 million in the bank. Ross has begun advertising and spending his money to increase his statewide name recognition.
Standard disclaimer: None of the leading candidates for governor and U.S. Senate in Arkansas will be short of money, whether through their own efforts or those of independent partisan groups. But more is more.
The Ross message is resolutely upbeat:
Mike Ross’ campaign for governor has raised over $550,000 in the fourth quarter of 2013 and ended the year having raised a record-breaking $3.65 million – more than double his opponents combined – and will begin the 2014 election year with more than $2.5 million cash on hand. Ross, a Democrat from Prescott who now resides in Little Rock, is a former small business owner, state senator and U.S. Congressman.
The Ross campaign said on Wednesday it had raised $550,303 in the fourth quarter of 2013 and ended the year with $2,507,635 cash on hand. It remains the only gubernatorial campaign that has not relied on a personal loan from the candidate.
“Holly and I are blessed by the outpouring of support we continue to receive from every corner of this state, and I am very proud that Arkansans continue to show energy and enthusiasm for our campaign focused on Arkansas’s future,” said Ross. “I’m running for governor to build on Governor Beebe’s legacy of strengthening education, creating good-paying jobs and cutting taxes for working families – all while maintaining this state’s balanced budget. Our message of putting good solutions over partisan politics continues to resonate across this great state and we are beginning 2014 in a very strong position.”
The record year-end haul follows a series of positive news for the Ross campaign. So far, Ross has been endorsed by Gov. Mike Beebe, 64 of the state’s 75 county sheriffs and 56 of the state’s 75 county judges. Ross, who was down by almost ten points in a poll earlier this summer, has now moved the race into a dead heat according to a recent poll by Public Policy Polling.
The year-end fundraising numbers set a new record in Arkansas political history – besting Governor Beebe’s $2.39 million raised in 2005, according to Dustin Smith, Ross’s deputy campaign manager for finance. Smith also added that 90 percent of all campaign contributors reside in Arkansas.
“Our campaign is beginning to introduce Mike on a much larger scale and we are investing early in infrastructure and voter identification as we continue to build one of the largest, most effective grassroots campaigns in state history,” said Smith. “Mike Ross begins 2014 with a cash advantage of more than $1 million over his opponents and he has strong momentum in the polls. We have exceeded all of our fundraising goals, have signed up more than 7,500 volunteers representing every single county in Arkansas and we are well-positioned to sustain our momentum all the way to victory on Election Day.”
The next finance report is due on February 15, 2014, for the month ending January 31, 2014.