U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham has $6.9 million in cash to spend on his re-election campaign after raising $1.2 million from July through September, the incumbent Republican’s campaign said Tuesday.
It was the third consecutive quarter that the Seneca Republican has raised more than $1.1 million.
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-North Charleston, has $2.8 million to spend after raising $760,000 in 2013’s third quarter, a spokesman with his campaign said. Scott, who Gov. Nikki Haley appointed to the Senate after Jim DeMint resigned, brought in more than $2.3 million during the first half of the year.
Graham began the quarter with $6.3 million in cash, raised $1.17 million and spent about $533,000.
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The two-term senator faces three announced GOP primary challengers: state Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg; Nancy Mace of Charleston, the first woman to graduate from The Citadel military college; and Easley businessman Richard Cash, a former congressional candidate.
Only one of those three challengers had filed his campaign finance report electronically as of late Tuesday, offering the first insight into whether Graham’s Tea Party and libertarian challengers in next June’s GOP primary are attracting financial support.
Cash reported raising $14,680 during the quarter in an electronic report filed ahead of Tuesday’s midnight deadline.
Cash said July and August are very slow fundraising months. “I didn’t do a very good job there. On the other side, I didn’t spend a whole lot either,” he said. “I’m sure this quarter will be much better than the last, and I have plenty of money to do what needs to be done right now.”
Cash said he has about $235,000 in cash after spending $22,714 from July through September. His campaign’s bank balance at the end of the quarter was not reported in his October report, which Cash said will be updated.
Cash raised $268,016 in 2013’s second quarter, including $200,000 of his own money.
A campaign spokesperson said Mace, who was finalizing her report Tuesday night, had raised about $150,000 from more than 2,000 contributors and had more than $100,000 on hand.
Fundraising totals for Bright were unavailable. A spokesman said Bright was finalizing his report.
Scott Huffmon, a Winthrop University political science professor, said it will be interesting to see Bright’s numbers.
“(Bright) has really been trying to court Tea Party attention,” Huffmon said. The question is “has he plugged into the Astro-Turf network” of national Tea Party groups that also can provide donations.
Mace, Huffmon said, has been raising her profile and becoming more recognizable.
It is still early enough that Graham’s challengers can “write off mediocre fundraising,” Huffmon said. But “doing surprisingly well is key. ... They are going to need to run full-steam from this day forward to challenge a $7 million war chest.”
Jay Stamper, who has said he is seeking the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat that Graham holds, did not respond to requests Tuesday for a campaign update.
Candidates had until midnight to file. But a notice on the Federal Election Commission’s website said it would not enforce administrative fines for late filers while the agency remains closed due to the federal government’s partial shutdown.
Richland County Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson, a Democrat, said Tuesday she plans to announce her bid for the seat currently held by Republican Scott in a couple weeks.
Democrat Rick Wade, a former campaigner and adviser to President Barack Obama, and state Sen. John Scott, D-Richland, also have expressed interest in running for the Senate seat held by Tim Scott but have not committed.