fundraising

New TNJ edition alert: Kelsey now flying solo, 3rd quarter fundraising totals, senators back Ogles

Brian Kelsey, center, awaits Gov. Bill Lee’s State of the State address in Nashville on Feb. 3, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

This week’s print edition of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here is what’s in it:

— And then there was one: Kelsey’s codefendant to plead guilty.

— Campaign finance roundup: Martin neck-in-neck with Lee in third quarter fundraising totals, but far behind in cash on hand.

— From the campaign trail: Blackburn and Hagerty headline fundraiser for Ogles with Cruz waiting in the wings; Lee channels the pope in his latest TV ad.

— Obituary: Larry Cole, former House clerk who wrote novel about a real statehouse romance.

Also: Internal polling points to wide support for “right to work” amendment, Tre Hargett strikes plea agreement in DUI case, John Rich hosts a fundraiser for a firebrand congresswoman in Nashville, and Cameron Sexton declares war on “political gibberish.”

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

Ogles claimed he raised $453K in first 30 days, but collected only $247K in entire quarter

Turns out Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles wasn’t being truthful when he announced in May he had raised $453,000 in the first 30 days of his campaign for the Republican nomination in the 5th Congressional District. After missing Federal Election Commission’s disclosure deadline by more than a week, Ogles finally reported Saturday he had raised $247,087 throughout the entire quarter.

Another $320,000 came in the form of a loan from the candidate on April 15. Lest anyone think Ogles was counting the loan toward his total in May, he told a reporter at the time his haul didn’t include any loans.

Ogles raised another $17,315 in the pre-primary period and spent a total of $301,063 and had balance of $283,338. But $53,534 of his cash on hand is reserved for the general election, meaning he had a $229,804 balance for the primary.

About those 5th District fundraising totals…

Kurt Winstead was the only Republican candidate in the 5th District Congressional race to tout his fundraising haul in a press release before the official reporting deadline. The move gave him some room for, shall we say, creativity in his numbers.

“Winstead will report having nearly $580,000 in receipts in the quarter, bringing the campaign total to over $1.5 million,” the release said.

Winstead’s report shows he received $382,480 from donors and loaned his campaign $660,000 during the second quarter. But he also paid back $460,000 of an earlier loan, leaving him with a net $582,480 in the period. Add the $519,625 in contributions in the first quarter and the $20,000 remaining from his original loan, and his total is $1.1 million since joining the race.

Meanwhile, rival Republican Beth Harwell raised $421,360 in the quarter, a 19% increase over her first-quarter collections. She has yet to loan her campaign any money and her total donations to date are $775,287. Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles had yet to file his first report as of Friday evening.

UPDATE: The deadline came and went and there are still no Ogles filings available on the disclosure site.

New TNJ edition alert: Early voting underway, key races, attacks on a Harwell vote from 21 years ago

Campaign signs outside an early voting location in Nashville on Oct. 21, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The latest print edition of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here is what is in it:

— Early voting gets underway, candidates make final push for campaign case.

— Key race update: Shelby County prosecutor, a challenge from the far right for the state Senate majority leader, embattled Rep. Todd Warner struggles to raise money, and a déjà vu in Knoxville.

— Succeeding Slatery: Supreme Court opens application window for next attorney general.

— From the campaign trail: Harwell comes under attack for 2001 vote on immigrant driver’s licenses.

Also: Key lawmaker sees dim future for charter schools operated by Hillsdale College, Diana Harshbarger hosts a fundraiser for a 5th District candidate, Weston Wamp’s polling on Chattanooga stadium comes under fire from current leadership, and Jim Strickland makes a conditional statement about his political future in Memphis.

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

Ogles camp announces $453K haul for 5th District bid in first 30 days

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles says his campaign for the Republican nomination for the open 5th Congressional District seat has netted $453,000 in the first month since joining the race. Ogles didn’t officially enter the contest until the end of the Federal Election Commission’s most recent reporting deadline, so he won’t have to make official disclosures until July 15 — 20 days before the primary.

The Ogles campaign says none of his fundraising total came in the form of loans and that all contributions were from within Tennessee.

Here’s the full release:

COLUMBIA, TN – Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles raised $453,000 in the first thirty days of his bid for the 5th District Congressional seat. Ogles, who was a late entry into the race, officially became a candidate on April 6th. 

Mayor Ogles stated, “I am humbled and overwhelmed by the support I’ve received since entering the race. Not only has the fundraising response been incredible, the results in recent straw polls in both Wilson and Marshall Counties, as well as the candidate auction in Williamson County demonstrate the strength of my grassroots campaign.” 

Mayor Ogles attributes his success with the grassroots to his decades of activism where he has helped lead the charge against Obamacare expansion, government overreach and various tax increases. “Tennesseans want elected officials who will fight for them in the same way President Trump fought for us. During Covid I never wavered, I fought for freedom and liberty in the face of threats, and I will fight for Tennessee against a Federal government that has gone too far and grown too powerful,” said Ogles.

Recently Mayor Ogles made national headlines as he refused to close Maury County during Covid. Ogles actively campaigned against State and Federal mandates by holding the ‘Freedom Matters’ tour where he recruited other elected officials and TN citizens to standup against government overreach with the town hall meetings consistently drawing crowds between 500 and 800 individuals. 

Lee Beaman, a well-known businessman and conservative fundraiser, who serves as Mayor Ogles Campaign Chairman added, “I recently attended an event with several very conservative Members of Congress who were asking about the 5th Congressional Race and I told them Andy Ogles is Tennessee’s Ron DeSantis and, like the Florida Governor, Andy is a true fighter for the people and he is exactly who we need serving us in Congress.” 

Starbuck raises $104K in quarter, $350K to date in 5th District

Robby Starbuck’s quarterly fundraising trails top-tier candidates in the Republican primary for the 5th Congressional District. The music video producer brought in $104,524 through the most recent reporting period, well behind Morgan Ortagus (nearly $600,000), Kurt Winstead ($520,000), Beth Harwell ($350,000). and Baxter Lee ($317,000).

But Starbuck got into the race long before his rivals and has raised $349,386 since last summer. About a quarter of Starbuck’s haul in the first quarter came in form of small, unitemized donations. He spent $71,000, bringing his total to $179,979. He had $172,265 remaining on hand as of March 31.

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.

Winstead chalks up $520K in donations, plus half million from self

Kurt Winstead

Republican Kurt Winstead, a retired brigadier general in Tennessee National Guard, announced he has raised more than $520,000 since joining the race for the open 5th Congressional District seat. Winstead said in a release that he will report more than $1 million cash on hand, meaning he has matched his outside donations with personal funds.

Among Winstead’s rivals for the GOP nomination, Morgan Ortagus said she has raised nearly $600,000, while former state House Speaker Beth Harwell announced she has landed nearly $350,000.

Here’s the full release from the Winstead campaign:

Nashville, Tenn. – General Kurt Winstead (Ret.), a conservative Republican candidate for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, announced he will have more than $1-million cash on hand in his first filing with the Federal Election Commission. 

In the effort, Winstead raised more than $520,000. 99% of those funds were from Tennessee, and 73% were from the counties within the newly drawn 5th Congressional District — Davidson, Lewis, Marshall, Maury, Williamson and Wilson Counties.

“We are so grateful for the outpouring of support in Tennessee and voters in the 5th District. Our campaign is gaining momentum, and these numbers are clear evidence of that support,” said Winstead.

The filing period, which ended on March 31, is required by law to be reported no later than April 15. Winstead, a political outsider, announced his candidacy at the end of February.

“General Winstead’s 30-plus years of service to our state and our community shows by these strong fundraising numbers. People know a leader when they see one, and it’s evident they want a conservative who knows the district and their state,” said businessman Jimmy Granbery, Finance Chair of the Winstead campaign. “This is a tremendous start for a fundraising effort that is strengthening, with many events scheduled in the coming weeks across the district.”

“This is a strong start and indicative of a winning campaign,” said Kim Kaegi, a veteran fundraiser with over thirty years of experience in Tennessee, and who is managing the fundraising efforts for the Winstead campaign.

Kurt Winstead is an eighth generation Tennessean and was raised in a home of educators and farmers. He served for more than thirty years in the Tennessee Army National Guard, including Director of the Joint Staff, Tennessee’s Staff Judge Advocate, and Brigade Command Judge Advocate during Operation Iraqi Freedom III.  Winstead is a graduate of Centre College and received a law degree from the University of Richmond School of Law. He also holds a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. Kurt and his wife Beth attend St. Matthew Church in Franklin. They are the proud parents of two adult daughters raised and educated in Williamson County.

Ortagus raises $600K despite fight over eligibility

Republican Morgan Ortagus has raised nearly $600,000 for her congressional bid despite persistent questions about whether she will be able to appear on the primary ballot for the 5th District.

Ortagus made a big splash when she landed the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, but state lawmakers overwhelmingly passed legislation to require people seeking to run in party primaries for Congress to have lived in Tennessee for at least three years. Ortagus moved to Nashville last year. A legal challenge is pending.

Here is the fundraising release from the Ortagus campaign:

NASHVILLE, TN — Team Morgan Ortagus today announced that Trump-endorsed conservative Morgan Ortagus raised nearly $600,000 in the first six weeks of her campaign to represent Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District. Team Morgan Ortagus has over $550,000 cash on hand.

“Our team is building momentum every day, as Middle Tennesseans make it clear they want their next Congressman to fight for our conservative values and President Trump’s America First agenda,” said Morgan Ortagus. “I’ve never run for public office before, and I’m truly humbled by the outpouring of support we’ve received in the first two months of our campaign. Together, we’re going to take back the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and fire Nancy Pelosi once and for all.”

Morgan Ortagus is an active U.S. Navy Reserve Officer and a business executive. She served in President Trump’s Department of State and has received President Trump’s “complete and total” endorsement.

Harwell raises $350K for 5th District bid

House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) awaits Gov. Bill Haslam’s final State of the State address in Nashville on Jan. 29, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Associated Press)

Former state House Speaker Beth Harwell’s campaign announced she has raised $350,000 since joining the Republican primary for the open 5th Congressional District seat in February.

Here’s the release from the Harwell campaign:

NASHVILLE, TN – Today Republican Candidate for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, Beth Harwell, announced her campaign has raised nearly $350,000 since jumping into the race on February 24.

The campaign reported that 98% of contributions came from within the state of Tennessee.

“I am proud to have the support of so many Tennesseans as we campaign to bring some common sense to Washington,” said Beth Harwell. “We need someone in Congress who knows the needs of Tennessee and will fight to bring back American greatness. I intend to do just that.”

Beth is a teacher who made history in the state of Tennessee by becoming the first woman to serve as the Speaker of the House. Since then, she has fought to cut a record-breaking number of taxes, build up the charter school system for our children, and stand up against far-left policies that would destroy our state.

Beth is the conservative leader that will take our Tennessee values to Washington. It is clear from the support Beth has seen across the district that she is the best choice to represent Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District in Washington.