HAPPY DAY: Mike Ross claims a fund-raising record.

  • HAPPY DAY: Mike Ross claims a fund-raising record.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross reported today that he’s already raised almost $2 million for his campaign. He faces both a Democratic primary opponent, Bill Halter, and the winner of a Republican primary that so far has three candidates — Curtis Coleman, Debra Hobbs and Asa Hutchinson.

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Halter’s report is expected later this afternoon. Others will be filing today, too. Coleman earlier said he’d raised about $100,000 in the quarter, including $25,000 from himself, and had $16,000 on hand.

UPDATE: Halter said late in the afternoon that, though he raised only $92,000 in the quarter and has about $837,000 on hand:

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“Bill Halter already has the funds needed to win the Democratic nomination for governor. While we raised less than we had hoped this quarter we still have one million dollars on hand and continue to exceed our grassroots organizing goals. Ultimately this election won’t be won or lost based on who has the most or least money. It will be about who has the best ideas to move Arkansas forward.”

Noted: $640,000 of Halter’s money is in the form of an earlier personal loan by the candidate. PS — A single $4,000 contribution from a San Francisco contributor would appear to exceed the $2000 limit. A Halter spokesman said he believes that’s an entry that should have been listed as contributions from two people, husband and wife, but an error clearly was made and would need to be corrected.

UPDATE II: Asa! is spinning that he met his goal by raising $378,000 in the quarter — a sixth of what Ross raised. He has $649,000 on hand. And a sort of wacky primary in the offing.

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Ross almost doubled the $1.05 million Mike Beebe raised in the first quarter of his 2005 campaign, the Ross campaign said. It said this was a record opening quarter for an Arkansas governor’s race and represents contributions from 2.400 5,000 people, plus promises of volunteer and other help from more than 2,500 more. About 80 percent of the money came in individual contributions.

Ross’ news release: