JACKSON — North Mississippi’s congressional race is turning into a multimillion dollar contest as Democrats work to hold onto the seat they won in 2008 and Republicans try to reclaim it.
The latest campaign finance reports show Democratic incumbent Travis Childers of Booneville has raised $1.6 million and spent nearly $1.2 million. Childers reported $494,848 cash on hand and $100,000 of debt.
Republican challenger Alan Nunnelee, a state senator from Tupelo, has raised $1.4 million and spent nearly $1.1 million. He reported $322,989 on hand and no debt.
The Federal Election Commission website shows campaign money raised and spent through Sept. 30. Candidates’ finance reporting deadline was this past Friday, and the election is Nov. 2.
Childers won the 1st District seat in a May 2008 special election. He was elected to a full, two-year term that November, when Republican John McCain carried the district in the presidential race. The district — which covers all of 22 counties and parts of two others — had been represented by Republican Roger Wicker from 1995 until late 2007, when GOP Gov. Haley Barbour appointed Wicker to an open U.S. Senate seat.
Childers is a Blue Dog Democrat and voted against the massive health care bill his party pushed into law earlier this year. Still, Nunnelee says frequently that a vote for Childers is the same as a vote for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.
Childers said during a campaign stop in Oxford this past week that he is an independent voice for his constituents and Nunnelee is running a “cookie cutter campaign” directed by national Republican groups.
“He hasn’t had an original thought in this campaign. Not one,” Childers said. “Everything out of the Washington play book.”
Nunnelee, who’s on a bus tour of the district this week, said during a debate last week at the University of Mississippi that Democratic majorities on Capitol Hill are taking the country in the wrong direction and he wants to stop that.
“No more excessive spending,” Nunnelee said. “No more borrowing from our grandchildren and their grandchildren. No more corporate bailouts.”
In southern Mississippi’s 4th Congressional District, the FEC website shows that 21-year Democratic incumbent Gene Taylor of Bay St. Louis raised $615,605, spent $504,014 and had $331,072 on hand. Republican challenger Steven Palazzo, a state representative from Biloxi, raised $534,844, spent $331,262 and had $203,582 on hand.
There were significant funding gaps in Mississippi’s other two congressional races.
In the 2nd District, which stretches through the Delta and into most of Jackson, 17-year Democratic incumbent Bennie Thompson of Bolton raised nearly $1.6 million, spent $790,278 and had more than $2 million cash on hand and no debt. Republican challenger Bill Marcy of Vicksburg raised $39,466, spent $25,611 and had $13,855 cash on hand and no debt.
In the central 3rd District, first-term Republican incumbent Gregg Harper of Pearl raised $624,130, spent $465,084 and had 176,322 cash on hand. Democratic challenger Joel Gill of Pickens told The Associated Press on Monday he has not filed a campaign finance report this year but he has raised about $4,700.
A glance at Mississippi campaign finance reports
Here’s a glance at Mississippi congressional campaign finance reports for money raised and spent through Sept. 30, according to the Federal Election Commission website Monday. Candidates reporting deadline was this past Friday:
Travis Childers, Democratic incumbent: Raised $1,627,620. Spent $1,162,111. Cash on hand $494,848. Debt $100,000.
Alan Nunnelee, Republican: Raised $1,401,910. Spent $1,078,921. Cash on hand $322,989. No debt.
A.G. Baddley, independent. No report available.
Rick “Rico” Hoskins, independent. No report available.
Gail Giaramita, Constitution Party. Raised $11,330. Spent $10,574. Cash on hand $755. No debt.
Lester Green, independent. Raised $36,886. Spent $35,187. Cash on hand $1,699. Debt $5,000.
Wally Pang, independent. No report available.
Harold Taylor, Libertarian. No report available.
Barbara Dale Washer, Reform Party. No report available.
Bennie Thompson, Democratic incumbent. Raised $1,577,142. Spent $790,278. Cash on hand $2,002,600. No debt.
Bill Marcy, Republican: Raised $39,466. Spent $25,611. Cash on hand $13,855. No debt.
Ashley Norwood, Reform Party: No report available.
Gregg Harper, Republican incumbent: Raised $624,130. Spent $465,084. Cash on hand 176,322. No debt.
Joel Gill, Democrat: No current report on FEC website, but Gill tells The Associated Press he has raised about $4,700.
Tracella Lou O’Hara Hill, Reform Party: No report available.
Gene Taylor, Democratic incumbent: Raised $615,605. Spent $504,014. Cash on hand $331,072. No debt.
Steven Palazzo, Republican: Raised $534,844. Spent $331,262. Cash on hand $203,582. Debt $32,000.
Kenneth “Tim” Hampton, Libertarian: No report available.
Anna Jewel Revies, Reform Party: No report available.
Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press