PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Right out of the gate, former Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice Robert Flanders has plunked $100,000 of his own money into the “exploratory committee” he created for a potential GOP run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sheldon Whitehouse.
From their first fundraising and spending reports to the Federal Election Commission, it is clear that Republicans Flanders and state Rep. Robert Nardolillo, of Coventry, have some catching up to do with the $2.2 million amassed by the two-term Democratic incumbent they hope to replace.
Whitehouse ended the last quarter on June 30 with $2,248,839 in his campaign account after raising a total of $759,357 and spending a total of $284,891 during the quarter.
Flanders has raised $93,727 and spent $8,155 since he first dipped his toe in the water in April. With a boost from the $100,000 he loaned his fledgling campaign, he ended the quarter with $185,571 in his account.
Nardolillo, a funeral director by profession, has raised $30,944 and spent $9,169 so far. With the $2,000 he loaned his campaign he had $23,774 left for the next leg.
His only PAC contributions so far — a total of $550 — came from the Gun Owners Political Action Committee.
By way of contrast, Whitehouse harvested $133,700 from political action committees that fill three pages, from “A” (AIPAC, American Federation of Teachers and ASCAP) to “U” (Universal Music Group Federal PAC).