Mayor Willie Herenton is still the king of fundraising, but one challenger , Herman Morris, is coming on strong, while another, Carol Chumney, says she, too, is having increasing success in raising money.
Morris actually raised more money than Herenton in the most recent campaign spending reporting period which started July 1st. But Herenton had more money on hand before July and still has much more than either Morris or Carol Chumney.
Herenton raised $117,800 and spent $378,675 in the last three months. He has $242,083 on hand. His largest expenditures include $56,000 to Clear Channel Outdoor for billboards, $47,800 for radio ads, and roughly $13,000 for t-shirts. Herenton raised almost all of the money locally in the latest reporting period.
Morris raised $219,222 and spent $249,912. He has $11,096 on hand and has personally loaned his campaign $35,576. His largest expenditures were to Conaway Brown for advertising. The candidate administered an indirect slap to rival Chumney at his Thursday press conference, saying that he was making his gains "while other candidates find that they are dropping and falling or standing stagnant."
At a press availability of her own Thursday, Chumney at first minimized the apparent edge enjoyed by both Herenton and Morris. "We've raised a lot of money, enough to do what we need to do," she said. Claiming to be as well known as Herenton and better known than Morris, she said the relevance of that was "it doesn't take as much to talk to the voters and tell them what you want to do "
But she would go on to say, "We've raised a lot of money lately, especially in the last two weeks."
Chumney, who trails Herenton by only two percentage points in a recent poll, apparently filed her documents just before the deadline Thursday, and they had not been received at the Shelby County Election Commission Friday morning.
Friday's Commercial Appeal quoted Charles Blumenthal, Chumney's campaign manager, as saying Chumney had raised $165,000 in the period, quadrupling her efforts from the previous period. Blumenthal had given The Flyer a different number Thursday, $142,000, and repeated the figure again Friday.
Blumenthal made a point of noting that Chumney had $18,000 on hand, as against some $11,000 for Morris.
(UPDATE: Chumney's filing, as received by the Election Commission on Saturday, shows quarterly receipts of $142,127, with $25,258 as cash on hand.)
The election is October 4th, with Saturday being the last day for early voting. More than 25,000 have voted this week alone, bringing the total early vote to 55,484, a record. On Thursday, 8181 people voted.
Last week, Herenton tried to stop early voting because of alleged problems with voting machines, but voters and poll workers apparently have overcome the problems or found them to be non-existent.
Chumney was optimistic about her early voting totals. "We're winning early voting, with fifty percent of the vote," she contended on Thursday -- without, however, explainiing the basis for that belief. (Results of early voting cannot be ascertained until all voting is concluded after the polls close on Election Day itself, October 4th.)
Morris made no such claims , but, when asked Thursday about Herenton's recent remark concerning the "mathematical impossibility" of his prevailing in the election," Morris answered with a reference to Herenton's stewardship of the now questionable FedEx Forum deal with the city.
"First of all, we're not going to take math lessons from someone who couldn't count five floors in the FedEx Forum garage," Morris quipped. And he repeated that he was rising at the other candidates' expense and would prevail. "We'll be there at the end.".
Jackson Baker and John Branston