Bentley leads in fundraising

Published 11:56 pm Monday, September 20, 2010

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Republican Robert Bentley is no longer self-financing his campaign for governor. Since winning the GOP nomination, he’s been raising money four times faster than Democratic opponent Ron Sparks.

The candidates seeking the state’s top office in the Nov. 2 election filed campaign finance reports Monday with the secretary of state showing how much they had raised since winning their parties’ nominations.

Bentley reporting taking in more than $3.3 million in contributions, while Sparks listed $783,307.

Bentley, a retired physician from Tuscaloosa, made $1.9 million in loans to his campaign during the primary season and won the Republican runoff July 13 over his better-funded opponent, Bradley Byrne.

Once he got the nomination, money started flowing to his campaign.

Bentley’s contributors included several supporters of Tim James, the Greeneville businessman who finished a close third in the GOP primary. Those donations included $10,000 each from former U.S. Rep. Sonny Callahan of Mobile and bridge builder John McInnis Jr. of Orange Beach.

Bentley also got strong support from the business and medical communities, including $100,000 from the state medical association and $25,000 from the state dental association.

Sparks, the state agriculture commissioner, said he defeated a better-funded candidate in the Democratic primary, U.S. Rep. Artur Davis, and the general election will be decided by issues rather than money.

“If this campaign was about money, Artur Davis would be standing here with Bradley Byrne,” he said.