Baxter Lee reports $317K in donations, same again from self in 5th District race

Businessman Baxter Lee has reported raising $317,380 in outside contributions — plus a matching donation from himself — in his bid for the Republican nomination in the open race for the 5th Congressional District. Developer Steve Smith, the finance for the Lee campaign, said the campaign had $560,000 on hand at the end of the fundraising period.

Contributions include $1,000 from former senator and governor Lamar Alexander and the same amount from Crown Bakeries founder Cordia Harrington. Jim Haslam, the founder of the Pilot truck stop chain. and former CEO Jimmy Haslam each gave $2,900. as did their spouses.

Here’s the release from the Lee campaign:

NASHVILLE, TN – Steve Smith, Finance Chair for Baxter Lee, announced over $630,000 for the first filing in Tennessee’s 5th Congressional district since Lee officially announced his candidacy three weeks ago. “I have worked with Baxter for years helping Republicans all over Tennessee get elected and I look forward to doing anything I can to help Baxter win this race,” Smith said. Lee has over $560,000 cash on hand.

Baxter Lee, a Tennessee native and entrepreneur, announced that he was running for Congress at the end of March, “I am humbled and honored by the encouragement myself and my family have received during this process so far. It speaks volumes of the confidence a person has when they financially support a candidate and my first quarter shows that I am someone they are putting their trust into,” Baxter stated. “The 5th district is looking forward to finally having a conservative Congressman to represent them again and wave goodbye to Nancy Pelosi.”

Lee is an eight generation Tennessean and business owner. This is Lee’s first campaign for office but has been an influential player in the success of many Tennessee Republicans being elected to public office. In 1994, his family hosted a fundraiser for Fred Thompson and worked hard to get him elected for his first term. Senator Thompson became a mentor to Lee, and he instilled conservative ideals like more freedom and less government. His first campaign donation was to Lamar Alexander in 1999 at twenty years old.