U.S. Sen. David Vitter has more campaign funds than that of his fellow Republican governor’s race opponents combined.
Vitter reported $3.5 million in cash on hand when 2015 began compared to Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne at $1.55 million and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle at $1.43 million, according to the latest campaign finance reports.
Lagging behind is Democratic contender state Rep. John Bel Edwards who said he’s raised “over $1 million … since he first announced his candidacy.” Edwards had until midnight to file his report.
The governor’s race tops the Oct. 24 ballot of statewide elected officials.
It’s attracting the most high-profile candidates and most vigorous campaign fundraising activity.
According to Vitter’s report, he raised $4.1 million last year and spent $600,000. Other candidates’ fundraising paled in comparison during the year.
Only one other candidate among those running for statewide office has anywhere near what Vitter has in his campaign account. Four-term Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy is sitting on a $3.45 million warchest.
Kennedy won in 2011 with no opposition. He has been doing polling to test the waters not only for his re-election but for governor, attorney general and the U.S. Senate in the event Vitter wins governor.
Wednesday was the deadline for filing annual campaign finance reports revealing 2014 fundraising and spending activity.
In other races, former Plaquemines Parish president Billy Nungesser led fellow Republican Jefferson Parish President John Young when it came to cash on hand in the lieutenant governor’s race.
Nungesser filed a report showing $2.1 million in the bank after 2014 campaign activity. Meanwhile, Young’s filing revealed $1.8 million available. Nungesser’s total was bolstered by personal loans while Young moved funds from his parish president account to the statewide race for the No. 2 job in government.
Other announced candidates Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden, a Democrat, and state Sen. Elbert Guillory of Opelousas, a Republican, filed campaign reports related to their current offices.
Holden showed $31,000 in his mayor’s account and Guillory about $1,900 in his last Senate campaign account.
Republican Secretary of State Tom Schedler reported just over $300,000 in cash on hand — almost four times that of announced challenger Chris Tyson, a Democrat, at $78,000.
Attorney General Buddy Caldwell reported $300,000 in his campaign account for what is expected to be a tough re-election bid this fall.
Caldwell had little fundraising activity in 2014 in preparation to run for a third term. Contributions totaled $39,000 for the year.
Caldwell’s opponent — fellow Republican and ex-Congressman Jeff Landry — has $1 million in the bank — three times that of Caldwell. Landry loaned his campaign $392,000 during the latest reporting period.
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon and Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain entered the 2015 election year with campaign accounts topping $400,000 each.
Donelon’s campaign finance report showed he had $442,350 in cash on hand at the end of 2014, half left over from the prior years. He raised $268,560 during the year.
Strain’s cash on hand stood at $457,404. He raised $188,610 in contributions during 2014, which was added to $342,412 already in the bank.