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State Senate race gets expensive
Oct 16, 2006 12:00 am
Former state Sen. Bob Rochelle out-raised incumbent Mae Beavers during the latest reporting period, according to documents filed with the state, with the contest becoming the most expensive state Senate race in Tennessee.
Rochelle managed to raise $205,430 during the reporting period, while Beavers took in $155,922 during the same period.
Rochelle also spent nearly $30,000 more than Beavers and has $250,374 on hand, compared to $168,118 for Beavers going into the crucial final weeks before the November election.
Rochelle campaign spokesperson Anastasia Apa said a consistent showing financially is a good sign for Rochelle's campaign to return to the chamber where he served for 20 years.
"For the fourth report in a row, we've been able to raise more support than Mae Beavers," Apa said. "And that's a clear indication that folks all over Tennessee want Bob back."
But the Beavers camp is proud of its own efforts, with Beavers strategist Darren Morris saying they expected to lag behind Rochelle in fundraising.
"We not only expect Bob Rochelle to raise more and spend more – he has to," Morris said. "People don't like him. If he doesn't outspend her 3-1 he can't beat her … He has to outspend her, so that's not a concern at all."
Among contributors to Rochelle's coffers were $2,000 from Adenus Technologies, a wastewater systems company out of Lavergne, and another $500 from Wilson County Water and Wastewater Authority Administrator Chris Leauber. Rochelle serves as the attorney for the Wilson County Water and Wastewater Authority.
He also received a slew of contributions from Nashville and local attorneys.
Meanwhile, Beavers received $11,000 from the Haslam family in Knoxville. William Haslam – the mayor of Knoxville – contributed $2,000 on his own. The Haslam family owns Pilot Oil, based out of Knoxville.
Beavers also got a total of $6,000 from John M. Gregory and his relatives. The East Tennessee family owns King Pharmaceuticals.
Fellow Republican legislators are also rallying around Beavers, with the Senate Republican Caucus contributing $35,000 to Beavers' coffers. Several incumbent Republicans, candidates and spouses of elected officials also gave Beavers money in a race which could decide the balance of power in the state Senate.
Rochelle – who received the endorsement of the Senate Democratic Caucus during the primary election – received $1,000 from state Sen. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, who is not running for re-election to the legislature. Cohen is seeking the U.S. House seat of Rep. Harold Ford, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate. He also received money from a sitting state senator and former Gov. Ned McWherter.
Rochelle is also seeing solid union support from electrical workers and the AFL-CIO.
Staff Writer Jason Cox can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 45 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.