Race for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat heats up as candidates report campaign cash

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The Alabama 2020 primaries are seven and a half months away -- but the money chase is in full swing.

The candidates for an Alabama U.S. Senate seat are all taking in campaign cash and the quarterly campaign finance filings are due to the Federal Election Commission, by midnight.

The seat is currently held by U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, a Democrat, and at least five would-be Republican challengers have entered the race. Jones, won the seat in a special election in 2017, defeating Roy Moore. He leads the way, so far, in fundraising in the 2020 race.

Jones is the only Democrat in the field, while GOP donors are being hit up by a number of Republican candidates.

Jones campaign announced he has raised $2 million in the second quarter and now has $4.2 million cash on hand. In announcing the figures, his campaign said:

"Our campaign is propelled by over 19,000 individual donors who believe in  Doug’s vision to create one Alabama by solving problems, not divisive partisanship or extreme ideas,” said Cory Warfield, campaign manager. “Senator Jones is talking to Alabamians about solutions to improve education, expand Medicaid, and strengthen the security of our country. We are grateful for all the support.”

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, who also can tap money he's raised in prior congressional races, leads the GOP field with $750,000 raised this quarter. Byrne's campaign reports he has $2.5 million cash on hand.

A Byrne spokesman issued the following statement:

“Our campaign is fueled by grassroots supporters who want a Senator who will fight for Alabama and our conservative values," said Byrne's Campaign Manager Seth Morrow. "With donations from all 67 counties, a team of over 650 volunteers, and $2.5 million in the bank, Bradley is the only candidate with the grassroots support and resources needed to win the primary and defeat Doug Jones in 2020.”

Former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville raised $420,000 in the quarter, his campaign says, and now has $1.3 million cash on hand. That figure is boosted by $1 million Tuberville loaned the campaign.

“Coach is the only candidate in this race who isn’t a politician so it’s no surprise he’s seeing such a huge surge in grassroots support and fundraising,” Tuberville for Senate Campaign Manager Paul Shashy said on the campaign website “It’s clear folks from all corners of our state are ready to fire Doug Jones and elect an outsider who has been supporting President Trump from the beginning and has never gotten weak-kneed in that support.”

Shelby County area-Alabama Rep. Arnold Mooney, R-Birmingham, has raised $300,000 in the quarter, and has $292,000 cash on hand. “In just 30 days since the legislative session ended and fundraising began in earnest, Arnold raised enough money to show he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with and received some huge endorsements. We’re excited by the momentum,” said Jordan Gehrke, a spokesman for the campaign.  Mooney has been endorsed by U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, talk show hosts Mark Levin and Erick Erickson, Duck Dynasty star Al Robertson, and the Senate Conservatives Fund, according to the campaign.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill has raised $217,000 so far.  His campaign noted he was only a declared candidate for 12 days before the campaign finance filing was due.  He reports $215,000 cash on hand.

Merrill addressed the campaign support on his Facebook page:

"In just 12 days our campaign has had a strong show of force in fundraising," he said. "We raised $217k and will report more than $215k cash on hand. No other campaign has raised as much in such a short period of time. Alabama wants a proven conservative winner in the United States Senate and only our campaign will give them that opportunity!"

The filing for Roy Moore, who also recently announced his candidacy, shows a relatively low figure. Moore raised $17,000 so far. And has just over $16,000 cash on hand. Moore pointed out today there's more to winning an election than money.

"While other candidates must raise thousands just to get their name out there, my name recognition is around 96% according to a recent poll and love me or hate me, the people of Alabama know that I stand for God, family, and country," Moore said. "I only have one question: who are the 4% and where have they been?"

You can review the filings for yourself on the Federal Election Commission's website.

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