Leave Feedback

Roe loans own campaign $250,000 in GOP primary battle against Davis

Hank Hayes • Jul 16, 2008 at 12:00 AM

By digging into his own pocket, 1st Congressional District Republican challenger Phil Roe is going for a campaign finance advantage in his primary battle against GOP incumbent U.S. Rep. David Davis.

Roe, Johnson City’s mayor, reported his campaign got $250,000 in two chunks at the end of June in second quarter reports disclosed by the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.

His campaign obtained one $100,000 bank loan, and Roe gave $150,000 to his election effort out of personal funds, according to FEC filings.

All total, he has loaned his campaign nearly $260,000 and has more than $308,000 cash on hand for the stretch run moving toward the Aug. 7 GOP primary.

“To get to the finish line, you’ll need a half million dollars,” Roe said. “I’m very serious about this election, and we’re not going to go in it underfunded. ... We’re getting ready to finish strong.”

Davis, whose second quarter report was not yet available on the FEC’s Web site (www.fec.gov), indicated his re-election campaign has about $200,000 cash on hand.

“It is very apparent my opponent is interested in politics over people,” Davis said of Roe’s campaign self-financing. “He is willing to try to buy a congressional seat. I think people are tired of wealthy individuals being able to totally influence an election. That’s why others through PACs (political action committees) and individual donations ... they want a voice too.”

At the end of the first quarter, Davis had raised about $432,000 for his campaign with 49 percent of those funds coming from PACs, while Roe reported approximately $120,000 in individual contributions and no contributions from PACs.

To date, Roe’s campaign has spent about $192,500 with individual contributions of approximately $239,000 and total campaign receipts of more than $499,000.

Roe’s campaign has gone on offense this month with a TV ad campaign attacking Davis’ acceptance of PAC contributions from oil interests. Roe, a retired obstetrician/gynecologist, has pledged to take no PAC money.

But Davis pointed out a big bloc of Roe’s individual contributors come from one profession.

“A lot of them are physicians — a special interest,” Davis stressed.

Roe also got a $2,000 contribution from Greeneville attorney Richard Roberts, who finished third in the 2006 1st Congressional District GOP primary. Roberts used $1.2 million in self-financing in that campaign, according to the FEC.

Roe’s campaign also reported a payment of about $2,300 to Brentwood, Tenn.-based Capitol Strategy Group (CSG), which was founded by former Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Randy Button. Roe indicated the CSG individual his campaign is working with helped out with fund raising for GOP U.S. Senate candidate Ed Bryant in 2006.

Roe’s self-financing is closing in on the FEC’s so-called “Millionaire’s Amendment” — a contested federal law that raises contribution limits for other candidates. Under that law, individuals typically may contribute no more than $2,300 per election to a House candidate.

But when a House candidate’s “opposition personal funds amount” exceeds $350,000, the contribution limits for the other candidates triple to $6,900 per election. The national and state party committees may also make unlimited coordinated expenditures on behalf of the candidate.

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, however, found the Millionaire’s Amendment violates the Constitution’s First Amendment of free speech.

For more about Davis go to www.rightforcongress.com.

For more about Roe go to www.roe4congress.com.

Recommended for You