Nunnelee's war chest grows; Morris strains to catch up

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Incumbent U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., outraised and outspent his Democratic challenger by wide margins during the most recent reporting period.
According to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, Nunnelee of Tupelo received $127,299 in contributions between Feb. 23 and March 31. Fifty-seven percent came from individuals; the rest from political and political-action committees.
That’s more than six times the funds raised by Democratic candidate Brad Morris of Oxford, who received $19,615 during the same period. All but $3,500 came from private individuals. Two political action committees gave the rest.
Three minor-party U.S. House candidates in the race didn’t file reports with the FEC.
Reports also were unavailable for the U.S. Senate race featuring incumbent Republican Roger Wicker and Democratic challenger Al Gore Jr. They file with the Secretary of the Senate, which doesn’t provide electronic copies. The FEC will post those reports later in the month, a spokeswoman said.
During the same five-week reporting period, Nunnelee spent $224,807. Much of it went toward campaign efforts leading up to the March 13 primary election against two GOP challengers, said his campaign manager Morgan Baldwin.
Expenses included media placement, polling and research, staff salaries, political consulting, travel, campaign dinners and cell phones. He had $254,367 cash on hand at the end of the reporting period.
“In the coming quarter, spending will come down a good bit,” Baldwin added, “because we won’t be in full campaign mode.”
Morris, who did not immediately return a call for comment, spent $4,040 during the same period. Most of it went toward consulting, media production, office supplies, campaign equipment and fundraising. He had $23,815 cash on hand.
Nunnelee, a 53-year-old freshman congressman, faces Morris, a 37-year-old attorney and former chief of staff to then-U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, in the Nov. 6 general election. Also in the race are Constitution Party candidate Jim R. Bourland, Reform Party candidate Chris Potts and Libertarian Danny Bedwell.
emily.lecoz@journalinc.com