Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) raised more money from contributions during the 2nd quarter of 2018 than her Democrat opponent in the U.S. Senate race in Tennessee, former Gov. Bredesen. But Bredesen ended up with more deposits in his campaign account due to an additional $2 million loan he made to his own campaign.
“Republican Marsha Blackburn says she raised more than $2.6 million during the second quarter in her campaign to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn,” the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported:
The campaign says that means it has over $7.3 million in cash on hand for Blackburn’s Nov. 6 general election effort and thus “remains well positioned” to succeed in her battle with former Tennessee Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen . . .
According to Blackburn’s campaign, of the $2.6 million-plus the Brentwood congresswoman has raised, more than $2.2 million came in direct contributions to her campaign, with nearly $400,000 in transfers from authorized joint fundraising committees.
“Bredesen’s campaign says he raised more than $2.4 million, loaned his campaign $2 million-plus, [and] spent almost $2.6 million” during the 2nd quarter, the Associated Press reported.
The additional 2nd quarter loan of $2 million brings the amount Bredesen has loaned to his campaign to more than $3.4 million.
The wealthy former governor has previously declared that he would not contribute to his U.S. Senate campaign from his own personal fortune.
“Bredesen said he does not plan to contribute to his campaign but did not discount the possibility,” CBS 19 reported on April 1.
“For cash-flow purposes, I’m perfectly willing to lend money to the campaign,” Bredesen added at the time.
As of June 30, the Bredesen Senate campaign has raised $8.2 million, of which more than 41 percent, or $3.4 million, has come in the form of a loan to the campaign from the candidate.
Even the most junior financial analyst knows that 41 percent of total revenue is not a stop-gap loan “for cash-flow purposes.” To paraphrase the old saying, if it looks like a contribution and walks like a contribution, it probably is a contribution.
A new poll released on Tuesday commissioned by the Committee to Defend the President, a political action committee that supports Blackburn, “found 38 percent of those surveyed supported the Republican congressman while 35 percent favored Bredesen,” according to WBIR.
“We will do whatever it takes to defend President Trump’s agenda from left-wing attacks and help Marsha as she prepares to support our president in the Senate,” Amanda Head, a spokeswoman for the Committee to Defend the President, told WBIR.
“The Committee to Defend the President is a project of Stop Hillary PAC, a super PAC that started in 2013. Last year Stop Hillary PAC changed its name to the Committee to Defend the President, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission,” WBIR reported:
The PAC previously said it plans to spend $1 million on TV and digital ads and staff to help campaign for Blackburn.
Other polls from earlier this year have found the U.S. Senate race to be similarly tight, including a survey released last week from a Democrat-aligned PAC. That poll found Bredesen had a narrow lead over Blackburn.
“Blackburn has yet to air television ads in the race while Bredesen has frequently run 30-spots on Tennessee airwaves since March,” WBIR noted.
Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill notes that “while Bredesen has already spent about $5 million on his campaign, including over $3 million in television ads, Blackburn continues to spend at a much slower pace and has not begun her television ads at this point.”
“Despite that spending advantage thus far,” Gill adds, “Bredesen is only polling a few points ahead or behind, but almost always within the margin of error. That’s not much to celebrate after spending $5 million and having the TV field to himself. As voters hear the other side of the story, including his huge donations to liberals like Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren, his claims of bipartisanship and moderation will wilt like month old flowers in the heat of August.”