Leading U.S. Senate Candidates Began the Year With Millions to Fuel Campaigns



Ervins Strauhmanis, Flickr

By Glenn Stephens

Former Sen. Jeff Sessions, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne and retired football coach Tommy Tuberville entered 2020 with millions of dollars in the bank as they campaign for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

The winner of the GOP primary on March 3, or of a possible runoff three weeks later, will face freshman Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama’s Nov. 3 general election. Jones is unopposed for his party’s nomination.

Candidates for federal offices were required to file campaign finance reports covering 2019 with the Federal Election Commission by midnight Jan. 31.

Sessions, who announced in November that he would try to reclaim the Senate seat he left in early 2017 to become attorney general, reported $312,060 in net contributions and expenditures of $249,301 during the final quarter of 2019. But he entered the field of candidates with $2.48 million in cash from his previous campaigns and had an account balance of $2.54 million to start this year.

Byrne, who is giving up his Mobile-area, south Alabama congressional seat to run for the GOP senate nomination, reported raising $216,751 in contributions and spending $552,487 during the final three months of 2019. For the year, he received a total of $3.35 million, including more than $2 million left over from his previous congressional campaign and $1.08 million in contributions. He listed expenditures of $1.15 million, leaving a cash balance of $2.19 million.

Tuberville, the former Auburn University coach, reported net contributions of $531,487 and expenditures of $462,266 for the three-month period that ended Dec. 31. His totals for the year were $1.32 million in contributions, plus a $1 million loan from himself. He listed $800,248 in expenditures. His account balance on Jan. 1 was $1.52 million.

Jones, who is seen as the Senate’s most vulnerable Democrat, entered the final quarter of 2019 with a cash balance of $5.04 million. He listed net contributions of $1.77 million and expenditures of $1.47 million for the period and showed a cash balance of $5.48 million at the end of December.

Jones defeated Roy Moore in December 2017 after a bitter campaign that led up to the special election.

Moore, twice ousted as Alabama chief justice, reported net contributions of $44,807 during the three-month period, bringing his net contributions for the year to $124,925. He spent $34,882 during the quarter and $80,809 in 2019, resulting in an account balance of $44,116 on Dec. 31.

Among other Republicans seeking the nomination, Haleyville businessman Stanley Adair has been almost entirely self-funded. He reported net contributions of $283,398 during 2019, with no itemized cash contributions from others. He spent $283,262 and had a balance of $1,379 at the end of the year.

State Rep. Arnold Mooney, R-Shelby County, reported contributions of $246,036.17 for 2019. He spent $310,451.66 and ended the year with $321,629.83.

Disclosure forms for Republican candidate Ruth Page Nelson were not in the FEC  database Saturday morning.

Photo by Ervins Strauhmanis

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