LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman raised more than $569,000 over the last three months as he heads into the final weeks of his re-election bid in Arkansas, his campaign told The Associated Press Tuesday.
Boozman’s campaign said the freshman senator will report having more than $1.6 million in the bank for his bid against Democratic challenger Conner Eldridge, a former federal prosecutor. Eldridge’s campaign hasn’t announced his fundraising figures for the quarter, which ended Sept. 30.
“I am grateful for the outpouring of statewide support our campaign has received,” Boozman said in a statement released by his campaign. “Arkansans are making a strong investment to ensure our message will continue to be heard across the state.”
Eldridge’s campaign did not immediately comment on the fundraising figures Tuesday night. Eldridge in July reported having $315,000 in the bank at the end of June.
Boozman released the fundraising numbers on the eve of his first and only debate with Eldridge and Libertarian nominee Frank Gilbert.
Boozman reported spending more than $978,000 during the quarter, and campaign manager Chris Caldwell told the AP that more than $600,000 of that went toward airing two television ads the lawmaker launched last month. Caldwell said the campaign is spending more than $358,000 for a third TV ad that began airing statewide Tuesday. Eldridge has also been airing ads statewide.
Eldridge faces an uphill battle unseating Boozman in Arkansas, where Republicans control all statewide and federal offices. But the Democratic challenger has stepped up his criticism of Boozman’s support for Donald Trump, calling it “horrifying” the lawmaker is still backing the GOP presidential nominee following the release of a 2005 tape featuring Trump bragging about kissing and groping women without their consent. Boozman has condemned the remarks, saying anyone he heard making similar comments about his wife, daughters or granddaughters “would be shopping for a new set of teeth.” But the lawmaker hasn’t withdrawn his endorsement.
The Boozman-Eldridge race has been low key compared to the spending blitz that hit the state two years ago, when then-Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor was defeated by GOP challenger Tom Cotton. The two rivals and outside groups spent more than $68 million on that race.
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