NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn said Thursday she raised $2 million in the last quarter of 2017 in her bid to succeed U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, topping her Republican primary opponent, Stephen Fincher, who said he reeled in $1.45 million.
Both candidates padded the millions already in their federal campaign accounts from before they announced their Senate bids about two weeks apart in October, with Blackburn entering the contest first.
Fincher, who was elected to the U.S. House in 2010 and did not seek a fourth term in 2016, had more than $2.3 million in his federal campaign account before the October-through-December fundraising quarter. He entered 2018 with $3.7 million cash on hand, his campaign said.
Blackburn, who had $3.2 million cash in her House account at the end of September, brought than $4.6 million in cash into the new year, according to her campaign.
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Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen awaits the Republican winner as the lone member of a cleared-out Democratic primary. He announced his candidacy in early December and said he’s prepared for a very expensive campaign. He didn’t announce his fundraising on Thursday, and the FEC documents due Jan. 31 aren’t available yet.
The contest could prove critical in deciding the majority of the Senate, now narrowly controlled by Republicans. Blackburn, a suburban Nashville lawmaker first elected to the U.S. House in 2002, said her fundraising helps show she’s in the best position to beat the Democrat.
“Voters across Tennessee are joining our team because they understand I am a card-carrying Tennessee conservative who will help President Trump drain the swamp,” Blackburn said.
Fincher promised the campaign is “just getting rolling” as he announced his fundraising totals Thursday.
“We enter 2018 with momentum to win the nomination,” said Fincher, a farmer from rural Frog Jump in western Tennessee. “We will not be outraised, and we will not be outworked.”
Corker, a Chattanooga Republican, announced on Sept. 26 that he wouldn’t seek re-election.