Ross raises $306K in July in Arkansas governor's race, spending $1.1M on ads this fall


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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Democratic nominee Mike Ross reported spending more than $1.1 million last month to air television ads this fall touting his bid for Arkansas governor, as he outpaced Republican rival Asa Hutchinson in fundraising.

Ross reported raising $306,660 in July, compared to $275,995 Hutchinson reported raising during the same month. The two ex-congressmen are running to succeed Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, who is barred by term limits from seeking re-election this fall.

Ross' war chest shrank in July and he ended the month with $343,649, compared to the $828,972 Hutchinson reported having in the bank. Ross reported spending $1.2 million during the month, and his campaign said nearly all of that was for television ads he planned to run in the final weeks of the campaign.

"We purchased more than $1 million in television advertising to secure a strong media presence in the last nine weeks of the campaign, and the money we raise from this point forward will help strengthen and expand that buy," Dustin Smith, Ross' deputy campaign manager for finance, said in a statement released by the campaign.

Hutchinson reported spending $485,452 during the month, and his campaign said a portion of that also went toward reserving TV time for campaign ads.

"We're excited to be in a strong position for the final months of the campaign and I'm confident that we have the resources necessary to win," Jon Gilmore, Hutchinson's campaign manager, said in a statement.

Ross has raised more than $5.2 million since launching his bid last year, compared to more than $3 million Hutchinson has reported raising.

The race is one of the most closely watched in the country, with the Democratic and Republican governors association also airing ads that have been blanketing the state. Republicans believe they are poised to claim the governor's mansion after recent gains in Arkansas, including taking control of the Legislature in the 2012 election.

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