Bryant, Reeves remain top campaign fundraisers

By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press

JACKSON — Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant of Brandon continues to be the top fundraiser in the race for Mississippi governor, with less than a month to go before the Aug. 2 primaries.

In the race for lieutenant governor, Republican Tate Reeves of Flowood, who’s in his second term as state treasurer, has still collecting the most money.

Candidates filed their most recent campaign finance reports Friday, to show money raised and spent through June 30.

Reeves reported spending nearly $1.3 million this year and having more than $1.4 million cash on hand. Among Reeves’ contributors is state Sen. Billy Hudson of Hattiesburg, who gave $10,000.

Five-term state Sen. Billy Hewes III of Gulfport, who’s also in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor, reported spending $1.4 million and having $567,289 on hand. His father, Billy Hewes Jr. of Gulfport, has given $7,300 cash and has made a $100,000 loan to the campaign. Among the other big contributors to the Hewes campaign is longtime Republican money man W.D. Mounger of Jackson, who gave $25,000.

The lieutenant governor’s race will be decided, for all practical purposes, by the two-person Republican primary. No Democrat is running. Two Reform Party groups are trying to get a candidate on the Nov. 8 general election ballot, but Reform candidates have no history of financing significant statewide campaigns in Mississippi.

Bryant reported spending nearly $2.3 million and having $1.1 million on hand for the governor’s race, which is open because two-term Republican Gov. Haley Barbour couldn’t seek re-election. Among Bryant’s biggest contributors is longtime Hollywood agent Sam Haskell of Oxford, Miss., who gave $35,000. John J. Jennings of Longwood, Fla., president of a company called Waste Pro, gave Bryant $25,000.

Also in the governor’s race:

— Republican Dave Dennis, a contractor from Pass Christian, spent $807,157 and had $508,283 cash on hand. He put $519,075 of his own money into his campaign, including a $250,000 loan. Among his biggest contributions were $11,000 from Jimmy Alexander of Meridian, owner of A&B Electric; and $10,000 from Ernest M. Gibson of Meridian, executive for Gibson Steel.

— Republican Hudson Holliday, a Pearl River County supervisor, spent $100,064 and had $482,784 on hand. A finance report filed last month showed Holliday has put $500,000 of his own money into his race.

— Democrat Bill Luckett, an attorney and businessman from Clarksdale, spent $551,091 and had $441,827 on hand. Luckett listed contributions totaling $49,800 this year from his own company, Blues Express LLC of Clarksdale, at least part of which was for airplane expenses. Luckett also listed contributions of $11,563 from himself, and $153,000 from his wife, Francine.

— Democrat Johnny DuPree, the mayor of Hattiesburg, spent $336,993 and had $119,937 on hand. Among his biggest contributions was $36,345 from Hattiesburg businessman Thomas A. Blanton. DuPree also listed a $25,000 contribution for “media production” from Kenny Morrison, a media production company owner in New Orleans.

— Republican businessman Ron Williams of Moss Point spent $597,338 and reported no cash on hand. Like Holliday, Williams is paying for most of his own campaign.

— Independent William Oatis of Silver Creek spent $11,899 and reported $111 on hand.

— Republican James Broadwater of Byram, a former state employee, spent $1,028 and reported $236 on hand.

— Democrat Guy Dale Shaw of Coffeeville, a retired tax assessor, spent $916 and reported no cash on hand.