By Bobby Harrison / NEMS Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – Phil Bryant, the front-runner in this year’s gubernatorial election, is starting the year with a sizable money advantage over his opponents.
Bryant, the current lieutenant governor and a Republican, reported $2 million in cash on hand, based on campaign finance reports filed Monday with the secretary of state’s office.
During the past year, Bryant collected $1.8 million in campaign contributions to go along with the cash he carried into 2010.
Quinton Dickerson, a spokesman for the Bryant campaign, said the lieutenant governor had received donations from almost 1,500 people from 68 of the state’s counties.
“This fundraising report shows the strong support that Phil Byrant’s campaign has from all across the state,” Dickerson said.
One of Bryant’s Republican opponents, Gulf Coast businessman and political novice Dave Dennis, took in $431,198 in campaign funds in 2010 and has $527,119 in cash on hand.
Brian Perry, Dennis’ campaign manger, said enough money was raised during 2010 to pay “for much of the infrastructure, and we’re pleased with the fundraisers we have lined up in the coming weeks.”
Pearl River County Supervisor Hudson Holliday, also a Republican candidate for governor, reported raising $99,600 and has $69,605 cash on hand.
Two other Republicans who have qualified to run for governor, James Broadwater of Byram and Ron Williams of Moss Point, did not file reports by the 5 p.m. Monday deadline.
On the Democratic side, Clarksdale attorney and businessman Bill Luckett reported $486,555 in contributions and has $350,622 in cash on hand
According to a news release, 75 percent of Luckett’s donations came from Mississippians.
Johnny DuPree, Hattiesburg mayor and Democratic candidate for governor, filed a partial report, according to the Secretary of State’s office. It did not list total contributions or expenditures.
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who has been rumored as a Republican candidate for governor, reported raising $269,318 and has $532,261 in cash on hand.
For the office of lieutenant governor, Republican Billy Hewes of Gulfport, the current Senate president pro tem, raised $514,280 and has $1 million in cash on hand. Treasurer Tate Reeves, also expected to be a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, raised $546,147 and has $1.6 million on hand.
Attorney General Jim Hood, Mississippi’s only statewide Democratic elected official, raised $415,969 during 2010 and has $402,378 on hand.
Jonathan Compretta, Hood’s campaign manager, said the donations “reflect confidence in the work of the attorney general’s Office.”
Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner Steve Simpson, who has announced he will challenge Hood but has yet to file qualifying papers, did not file a report.
For the open office of commissioner of agriculture and commerce, three Republicans filed reports.
• Max Phillips of Smith County, who has run for the post before, raised $121,350 and has $106,389 on hand.
• State Rep Dannie Reed of Ackerman raised $1,300 and has $4,082 on hand.
• State Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Brookhaven raised $6,205 and has $6,665 on hand.
For treasurer, three Republicans filed reports:
• Lynn Fitch of Madison, executive director of the state Personnel Board, raised $163,119 and had no expenditures.
• State Sen. Lee Yancey of Brandon raised $40,600 and has $71,410 on hand.
• Jackson attorney Lucien Smith, a former staffer for outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour, raised $256,549 and has made no expenditures.
• Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, who is seeking re-election, raised $182,315 and has $195,264 on hand. Auditor Stacey Pickering, also seeking re-election, raised $179,530 and has $140,097 on hand.
Also of note, Barbour raised $366,676 for his state political action committee and has $160,867 on hand. Barbour, constitutionally prohibited from seeking another term as governor, no longer is raising funds individually in the state. He is raising funds federally for a possible presidential bid.
Contact Bobby Harrison at (601) 353-3119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.