Republicans hoping to challenge Sen. Blanche Lincoln are struggling in fundraising compared with the incumbent Democrat's $5 million war chest.
Most of the Republican Senate candidates reported over the weekend raising less than $100,000 in the final months of 2009, lagging behind the $1.3 million Lincoln announced raising during the same period. Sunday was the deadline for candidates to file quarterly fundraising reports with the Federal Election Commission.
One candidate, state Sen. Gilbert Baker, reported last week that he raised nearly $300,000 during that period. A report wasn't immediately available for state Sen. Kim Hendren, who has loaned his campaign $200,000.
Nine Republicans are running for the GOP Senate nomination. And Republican Congressman John Boozman will announce Saturday that he's joining the race, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press last week.
Former state Sen. Jim Holt said he raised $60,261 during the three-month reporting period and has $53,342 cash on hand. Holt, who won the 2004 Senate nomination but lost the general election to Lincoln, began raising money for his Senate bid in late December.
Conrad Reynolds, a retired Army colonel from Conway, said he raised $41,830 and had $52,789 in the bank for his bid. Reynolds said his campaign owes him $46,789 that he loaned it, and he reported spending $32,102 during that period.
Curtis Coleman, the chief executive officer of Safe Foods, reported raising $30,441 and said he loaned his campaign $24,770. Coleman said he spent $84,127 and began the year with $2,521 in the bank for his bid.
North Little Rock businessman Tom Cox said he raised $31,850 and ended the period with $3,496 cash on hand. Cox reported a $2,720 debt that he said he has since paid off.
Buddy Rogers, a financial adviser from Rogers, said he raised $2,850 during the three-month period and had also loaned his campaign $7,500. Rogers' report says his campaign has $10,159 cash on hand for his bid.
Holt, who announced his candidacy in early January after holding the fundraisers, pointed to his fundraising as a sign of momentum.
"We wanted to make sure that the people were behind us before we announced Jim's candidacy in December, and this clearly shows that they are," Holt campaign manager Jason Sheppard said.
Cox said he had temporarily suspended fundraising in December as he considered a run for governor, but resumed taking contributions after ruling out that race. Coleman said he believed his fundraising had improved with the start of the new year.
Boozman reported raising $46,795 for his congressional re-election bid, and has $292,247 in the bank — money that he could use for his Senate race.
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