Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined the gubernatorial race in a big way with an initial campaign finance report of $838,340 in contributions.
She says it’s the highest amount raised in a first quarter of a gubernatorial campaign, Democrat or Republican. Maybe so, but Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, who’s in his third quarter of fund-raising, raised more THIS quarter. He reported $658,270 this quarter for a total so far of $1.14 million for the Republican primary in 2022. And he reported another $236,700, for a total of $530,500 toward the general election. In other words, he raised more than $894,000 in the third quarter. Rutledge’s initial quarterly total is also the sum of separate primary and general election contributions — $611,940 and $226,400, respectively. Here’s the primary report for a look at her major contributors. And check this report on Griffin’s $236,700 in general election contributions. Many of these are heavy hitters who maxed out on primary contributions and came back with another maximum $2,800 for the general election.
Rutledge bragged that 86 percent of her money came from Arkansas and nearly 700 individual donors. Those are not grassroots numbers. Her average contribution was around $1,200, not likely from the fry cook at the Sonic.
There’s more where all this money came from, of course. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is counting on it for HER race for governor, so far not yet announced.
But $2.5 million is already committed to a governor’s race in which the election is more than two years away.
UPDATE: Griffin later boasted of his buck-raking expertise. His release:
“Griffin raised $97,444 more in his third quarter of fundraising than his opponent did in her first quarter. He maintains a cash on hand balance of $844,329 more than his opponent.
“Griffin raised $894,970 in the third quarter. His total raised is $1,678,651.21 since March 3 and he has $1,623,880.21 cash on hand.“