By EMILY R. WEST
Of the $46,110 raised in 2016, incumbent Rep. Glen Casada had nearly 90 percent of his fundraising come from special interest groups.
Adding up this quarter three, pre-primary and second quarter disclosures, the figure for special interest funding comes to $41, 200.
That amount of money from political action committees to a 15-year incumbent isn’t unusual, Casada said. He is running for his eighth term in office for the District 63 seat.
“It’s just part of being in leadership and being chairman of the caucus,” he said. “It’s a powerful position that’s given to me by the caucus. It brings a lot of responsibility and influence. A lot of business groups support the direction I take to the caucus.”
Of the PACs that contributed money, Casada received donations ranging from those in telecommunications – like Comcast and Centurylink – to PACs that represent grocers, wine sellers, dentists, bankers and Realtors. Comcast gave the largest check in the form of $2,000. The average amount the 46 PACs that gave was around $895.
He also received money from those involved in health care interests – like Pfizer, United Health Care, National Health Corporation, and both the Tennessee Orthopedic and Anesthesiologists.
Of his special interests money, nearly 70 percent of it came from Tennessee – 20 of the donations from Nashville. The rest came from different pockets of the state or across the country.
He said it just affirms that they agree with his performance in the legislature.
“Political action committees are composed of individuals he said. “For instance, you have the dentists PAC or the accountants PAC. These are Williamson County dentists and Williamson County accountants who support me because I am a pro-business, small government, low-tax guy. So, constituents have an influence on me, and so does their pro-business agenda. People support those who believe like they do.
He said this doesn’t influence any of his votes or legislation on the floor. Casada explained it could come across as a misconception. He said a donation doesn’t translate to a bill or legislation popping up on the House floor.
“It’s actually 180-degrees in that this guy votes my way so I want to see him re-elected, so I support him,” he said. “That’s life, and because I am pro-business conservative, they want to see me re-elected. It’s like what Ronald Reagan said, ‘They know how I vote, so they support me.’ It’s the same with this.”
But without this election cycle, Casada already has a considerable sum of money. Out of all those running for election, he raised the least amount, but he has the most on hand in $273,081. He said before the general election, he will end with a “significant” amount of money.