Carper flush with cash as primary draws near

Senator Tom Carper. Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

DOVER — Data from the Federal Election Commission indicates U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, a Democrat seeking his fourth term, listed $1.29 million on hand as of June 30 — far more than any other Delaware candidate this year.

Sen. Carper, who is facing a primary challenge from Kerri Harris, raised almost $1.38 million through the first six months of 2018. He spent about $563,000.

Ms. Harris, a community organizer aiming to hand Sen. Carper his first electoral defeat in 42 years by running to the left of him, listed $15,000 on hand. She reported raising $53,000.

On the Republican side, Rob Arlett, a realtor and sitting Sussex County councilman, had about $27,000 available and brought in $38,000 in contributions. Financial services executive Gene Truono reported having about $10,000 left. He raised $75,000, which includes a $30,000 self-loan.

Also running for the Senate are Republican Roque De La Fuente (who does not live in Delaware and is simultaneously seeking seats in several other states), Green Demitri Theodoropoulos and Libertarian Nadine Frost. None of them indicated they collected any contributions.

In the U.S. House of Representatives race, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, a Democrat, had $375,000 on hand after collecting $371,000 in the first half of the year. She was first elected in 2016.

Neither of the two Republicans seeking their party’s nomination, Lee Murphy and Scott Walker, reported raising any funds.

Since the start of 2017, Sen. Carper has raised approximately $2.14 million while Mr. Truono has pulled in nearly $80,000, plus $105,000 he has loaned to his campaign, and Rep. Blunt Rochester has received $877,000 in donations. The other candidates raised no money in 2017.

Donors from 35 states, as well as Washington, D.C., have given money to Sen. Carper this year. He’s raised $160,000 through ActBlue, a fundraising software designed to help Democratic candidates collect funds.

Among Sen. Carper’s donors is a host of PACs, businesses and organizations, as well as former Delaware Gov. Jack Markell.

Mr. Truono said in a statement he is not worried about being outspent by Sen. Carper and expects to continue receiving contributions. The Arlett campaign chose to go after Sen. Carper, saying his list of contributors “looks closer to a NASCAR racing suit with corporate sponsors” while Mr. Arlett has relied on individual Delawareans.

A spokesman for the Harris campaign noted most of the effort is powered by small donations and said Ms. Harris expects to continue receiving grassroots support.

Asked what the Carper campaign makes of a significant portion of the senator’s donations coming from entities rather than people, the campaign said Delawareans know Sen. Carper “is a tireless advocate for the First State” and has earned broad support.

The primary is Sept. 6.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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