Wicker's campaign cash stout as 2012 vote looms

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker reports $2 million-plus in hand to face any challenge to winning a full term in what’s often called the world’s most exclusive club.
For 2011′s third quarter, Wicker’s campaign gained heavily from national donors – of nearly 750 total, only 62, or 8.3 percent, are from Mississippi.
Wicker, a Republican from Tupelo, is expected to seek a six-year term in 2012 after winning the remainder of a term vacated with the 2007 retirement of Sen. Trent Lott of Pascagoula.
No opponents for Wicker have yet surfaced.
Mississippi’s senior senator, Republican Thad Cochran of Oxford, won his first Senate election in 1978 and completes the third year of his sixth term this year.
His campaign fundraising pace for the third quarter – $12,500 from five individuals and four political action committees – pales in comparison to Wicker’s quarter total of $394,722.
Cochran, who hasn’t faced serious political challenges in many years, shows a year-to-date total of $186,482 with $330,992 cash on hand.
He would again be up for re-election in 2014.
Adding to campaign resources can be what’s called “leadership committees,” which operate differently from campaign committees. Senators and House members often use these entities to bolster their campaign efforts and assist the campaigns of friends.
Cochran’s leadership committee, The Senate Victory Fund PAC, reports $698,660 cash on hand as of Oct. 13.
Wicker’s latest available report comes from mid-year for his Responsibility amp& Freedom Work PAC. It showed $27,468 cash.
His campaign fund, Wicker for Senate, shows his third-quarter financial emphasis in Illinois, California, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Utah and Puerto Rico.
His year-to-date fundraising nears $2.8 million.
Among his PAC contributions are gifts of $3,000 from Pickering for Congress, a PAC controlled by former U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering of Brandon, and nearly $21,000 from 2011 Senators Classic Committee, which is affiliated with Sen. Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts.
Another PAC donation is $21,218 from an Alexandria, Va., organization called GOP Leading the Way 2011, housed in the same office as Winfrey amp& Co., a Republican fundraising business hired by Cochran, Gov. Haley Barbour and a few other Mississippi GOP politicians.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com