Gov. John Bel Edwards raised nearly $3.3 million for his re-election bid during his first year in office, giving him a hefty campaign account years ahead of the 2019 governor's race.
The Democratic governor's latest fundraising report, covering all contributions and spending for 2016, was filed Wednesday with the state ethics administration office.
Edwards reports he ended the year with about $3.3 million cash on hand, after accounting for dollars left from 2015 and campaign expenses.
The governor's campaign says nearly all the contributions came from Louisiana residents.
For comparison, former Gov. Bobby Jindal brought in nearly $3.5 million in his first year in office.
Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry, a possible Edwards competitor in 2019, reported drawing $899,000 in campaign donations last year and ending with $544,000 on hand.
Last month, The Advocate reported Edwards and his political allies are expecting a tough re-election campaign in 2019 from well-funded Republicans determined to prove that his election in 2015 was an anomaly in a conservative state dominated by Republicans.
“If there is opposition, you have to have the resources early on to wage a campaign,” said Dale Atkins, who helped organize a Sept. 28 fundraiser at the New Orleans home of Terrell Clayton, a developer of affordable housing.
The first event for Edwards, on Jan. 19, 2016, was organized by two Baton Rouge lobbying outfits, Spradley & Spradley and Roedel Parsons Koch Blache Balhoff & McCollister, and consisted of a dinner at Dooky Chase’s, the famed New Orleans restaurant. Cost of entry was $5,000 per donor, the maximum allowed.
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