Brookhaven state senator and congressional candidate Sally Doty missed a campaign finance disclosure deadline over the weekend, and her self-reported cash total puts her near the bottom of the pile of well-funded competitors.
Doty, who is fighting to represent Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, said her campaign has $53,819, putting her in fifth place against the other six Republicans in the race. One candidate — Seminary’s Perry Parker, a former stock trader and Wall Street businessman — has raised $342,042, six times Doty’s total.
“It’s a challenge, being from a smaller area, to try to match those more populous and, honestly, wealthier areas of the state,” Doty said. “Also, I was tied to the Legislature for three months, and I really felt it was inappropriate to approach some of the people I wanted to while we were in session.”
Behind Parker, Baptist Health Foundation president and former political chief Whit Hughes has amassed $304,354; Madison and Rankin counties’ district attorney Michael Guest has $280,911; Morgan Dunn, a healthcare executive from Magee, has $103,700.
The race’s third Republican woman, education consultant Katherine Tate, also failed to meet the deadline. Democrat Kevin Michael Aycox reported $100, while Democrat Michael Evans and Reform Party candidate Matthew Holland did not file on time, either.
Doty said she failed to meet the Federal Election Commission’s filing deadline because of computer problems. The Federal Elections Commission administers civil penalties and fines for late or missed reports through its Administrative Fines Program. The program considers four criteria for issuing fines — the election sensitivity of the report, whether the report is late or not filed, the level of activity on the report and the number of previous deadline violations.
Doty’s campaign treasurer, Pat Lowery, said he was working to get the report uploaded to the FEC system by the end of Monday. It seems unlikely the FEC will hammer Doty, a first-time congressional candidate with a relatively small amount to spend.
As for the prospect of being heavily outspent by her competitors, Doty said she has faith Mississippians will look beyond the dollars and cents.
“I believe the voters look at who you are and what you stand for, not how much money you have in your account,” she said. “Certainly you need a good amount to run a campaign. We are using our money wisely, and are really getting out to the people grassroots — not just buying ads on Facebook or Google or TV. One-on-one contact is very important.”
Candidates’ monthly reports are due Friday. Candidates’ finance reports can be seen at the FEC’s website at www.fec.gov/data/search.