House District 65 candidates raise nearly $200K before August primary


House District 65 candidates raise nearly $200K before August primary

Out of the District 65 candidates, Republican challenger Sam Whitson out fundraised both his incumbent and Democratic challenger in 2016.

Since he announced his candidacy in January, Whitson has raised in total $108,711. In the last 28 days, Whitson has raised $66,000, during which his primary opponent suspended his campaign.

Of that money, around $26,000 of it came from political action committees. The most notable of the group was Community Health Systems at 7,600. The STAND PAC for Tennessee also gave $7,445. And while giving to his campaign, the group’s extension in the form of an independent expenditure committee also spent an additional $90,000 plus on mailers and advertising.

July made for the biggest month for Whitson. Aside from PACs, his notable contributors included Speaker Beth Harwell, several $1,500 checks from those who work at Community Health Systems and several $1,000 contributions from those who work at Tri Star Energy.

In the second quarter, Whitson earned a nod from House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick in the form of a $1,500 donation. Rod Heller and his wife Kay collectively gave $800. Mr. Heller is working on the $80 million Harpeth Square project that could soon break ground in downtown Franklin later this fall. His wife is the owner of a rare print gallery.

Franklin’s Ralph Drury, the CEO of the Drury Group, also contributed $500.

Whitson will end out the pre-primary with $64,226.

His embattled Republican Jeremy Durahm has only raised a total of $17,277 the entire year. Though, Durham began 2016 with a beginning balance of $201,182 from previous campaign cycles.

Right now, Durham sits in limbo after he suspended his campaign on July 14. The pre-empting for his stall in the District 65 race came after a Special Ad Hoc committee voting for the release of a report that detailed inappropriate behavior, which had pages worth of allegations from female legislators, lobbyists and interns against Durham, including examples of inappropriate text messages, offering an under-aged intern alcohol and inappropriate sexual conduct in his office in the legislature.

Durham earned a total of $5,520 in PAC funding with the remainder coming from individuals.

According to his campaign disclosure, Durham spent $2,950.76 after the July 14 campaign suspension on campaign workers. He will end with a balance of $116,711 before Aug. 4.

And while it’s undecided who will face Holly McCall in November, the sole Democrat in the race has already raised $67,151 in only four months.

During the last 28 days, McCall raised $12,500 total. Of that, $3,500 came from PACs with an additional $9,000 from 18 other individuals.

So far this race, some of her more prominent donations came from Franklin’s first female Mayor Lillian Stewart and former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, and local business leader Wayne Smith of Community Health Systems. Former chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party Chip Forrester also gave to her campaign, along with several area developers.

In the second quarter, McCall raised nearly $54,700, which was the most out of the candidates in the District 65 race.

Emily West covers Franklin and Williamson County government and schools for Home Page Media Group. Contact her at emily@franklinhomepage.com. Follow her on Twitter via @emwest22.

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