Campaign notebook: Candidates’ financial gap visible in primary races

VOTE 1 COL by . DOVER — The three leading candidates for the U.S. House have all raised upwards of half a million dollars in donations, while in the primaries for governor and lieutenant governor, a clear financial gap separates hopefuls.

As of Aug. 24, Sean Barney had raised the most money, with $661,000, just ahead of Bryan Townsend’s $652,000. Lisa Blunt Rochester had pulled in $566,000 and, as of the end of last month, had loaned herself $404,000. State Sen. Townsend and Mr. Barney loaned themselves $20,000 and $2,000, respectively.

Mike Miller had raised about $21,000 as of June 30, while Scott Walker and Elias Weir did not report financial activity.

All six are Democrats.

In the governor’s race, Colin Bonini has raised $107,000 since the start of 2015, on top of a $60,000 self-loan. His opponent, Lacey Lafferty, has pulled in $12,000 and loaned $88,000 to herself.

The two are competing for the Republican Party’s nomination.

State Sen. Bonini said raising money has been challenging — a reality for Republicans in a Democratic-heavy state.

Among the six Democrats competing in the primary for the lieutenant governor’s position, Kathy McGuiness and Bethany Hall-Long are well ahead of everyone else. Ms. McGuiness received $267,000 in donations, while state Sen. Hall-Long earned $263,000 in contributions. Ms. McGuiness also loaned herself $51,000.

Ciro Poppiti raised $121,000 and loaned himself $65,000. Greg Fuller received $43,000 in donations, with a $2,500 loan as well.

Brad Eaby and Sherry Dorsey Walker both earned $38,000. Mr. Eaby also loaned himself $24,000.

Incumbent Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart, seeking to keep her seat, raised $133,000, while Democratic challenger Trinidad Navarro pulled in $69,000 and issued a $5,000 loan to himself.

On the Republican side, money has been much harder to come by. George Parish raised $14,000, and Jeff Cragg received $5,700, as well as a $3,700 loan.

For most of the statewide candidates competing in primaries, funds are depleted, although winning the primary does reset the donor list, allowing the winning candidates to continue pulling in funds, even from previous contributors.

Not counting a loan of $225,000, which was submitted after the main reporting period ended, Ms. Blunt Rochester had $107,000 remaining. Mr. Barney had $354,000 not yet spent, while Sen. Townsend had $199,000.

Sen. Bonini had $63,000 on hand as of Monday, with Ms. Lafferty holding $4,000.

Mr. Eaby, Mr. Fuller and Ms. Dorsey Walker all had less than $5,000 in cash remaining. Ms. McGuiness and Mr. Poppiti had $25,000 and $23,000, respectively, and Sen. Hall-Long possessed $60,000.

Ms. Weldin Stewart held $6,800, while Mr. Navarro had $22,000 and the two Republican candidates for insurance commissioner each had less than $1,000.

At the local level, House Speaker Peter Schwartzkopf, competing in a Democratic primary for the 14th Representative District, had $123,000 on hand. His opponent, Don Peterson, had $2,600.

Republican Rep. David Wilson, of the 35th Representative District, still possessed $5,600, while challenger Bob Mitchell had $1,100.

In the 33rd Representative District’s open seat, Morgan Hudson had $3,800, and Charles Postles and Bob Scott each had $470. The three are seeking the GOP nomination for the office.

The primary is Tuesday.

Bonini says state has too many regulations

DOVER — Sen. Bonini last week advocated for changing Delaware’s “Byzantine” system of regulations.

He is in support of reducing red tape and advancing the RiverEdge Container Terminal Project port in Wilmington.

“Delaware is a high regulation state with tremendous costs to employers which creates a significant drag on our economy,” the Republican said in a statement. “Years of unrestricted government power has led to a culture that discourages entrepreneurship and business expansion in Delaware. As governor, reforming our regulatory structure and ensuring our state government is supportive of job creators will be one of my top priorities.”

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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