Ross raises $550,000 in final quarter of 2013

LITTLE ROCK — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Ross reported raising more than $550,000 in the final three months of 2013 in campaign finance reports filed Wednesday.

The former 4th District congressman from Prescott reported spending $429,723 during the three-month period and ended the year with $2.5 million in the bank. Ross raised about $3.65 million for his campaign in 2013, according to his filings.

Wednesday was the deadline for candidates to file their fundraising reports for the quarter that ended Dec. 31.

Ross is the only Democrat seeking the office of governor. Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, is completing his second term in office and is prevented from seeking re-election this year.

Republican Asa Hutchinson, a former U.S. Congressman and undersecretary with the U.S. Department of Homeland Secretary, reported last week that he had raised more than $445,000 during the last quarter of 2013. He reported spending about $150,000 from October through the end of December, leaving him with about $1.3 million in the bank.

Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman, also a Republican candidate for governor, reported raising $53,002 in the fourth quarter of 2013 and spending $60,207. He also loaned his campaign $5,409. He raised a total of $341,825 last year, and loaned his campaign 39,264, while spending a total of $$371,704, leaving him with $9,383 in the bank on Jan. 1.

State Rep. Debra Hobbs of Rogers, who also is seeking the GOP nomination for governor, had not turned in her finance reports by mid-afternoon Wednesday.

In the lieutenant governor’s race, Little Rock businessman John Burkhalter, a Democrat, reported raising $135,910 in the fourth quarter and spending $151,076, leaving him with $441,623 on hand. He raised $666,105 last year and spent $279,485, according to finance reports.

Rep. Andy Mayberry, R-Woodson, who is seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, reported raising $4,611 during the fourth quarter and spending $4,277, leaving him with 4,670 in the bank. He raised $9,421 last year for his campaign and spent $4,799, according to campaign filings.

Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, also seeking the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor, had not filed his campaign reports by late Wednesday afternoon.

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr, R-Springdale, announced last week he would resign effective Feb. 1 in the face of possible impeachment over his misuse of campaign funds and taxpayer money.

On Dec. 30, the state Ethics Commission reprimanded the Republican lieutenant governor and fined him $11,000 for 11 violations of state ethics and campaign finance laws. The panel said it found evidence that Darr used campaign money to make about $31,500 in personal purchases, received about $3,500 in improper travel reimbursements, accepted $6,000 in campaign contributions that exceeded the individual limit and submitted campaign finance reports that omitted required information.

A legislative audit that took a more in-depth look at Darr’s travel reimbursements found that he received more than $9,000 in improper reimbursements.

In his campaign finance reports filed Tuesday, Darr reported no contributions or campaign expenses during the last three months of 2013. He reported raising $384,946 for all of last year and spending $443,126 during the year.

The report also showed he had a campaign debt of $5,720 at the end of the year.