Sowers tops Emerson in funds for final quarter before election

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tommy Sowers outperformed U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson in fundraising by nearly $20,000 in the final quarter before the election, which he says shows momentum is on his side leading up to Nov. 2.

Emerson's campaign, however, says the money tells a different story -- one of a candidate who is supported by outsiders who are looking to advance an agenda that would be unpopular in the 8th District.

Emerson, the 14-year Republican incumbent, raised $394,094.12 in the third quarter, according to campaign filings with the Federal Election Commission. That amount covers the period of July 15 to Sept. 30.

Sowers, the Democratic challenger from Rolla, closed out the quarter with his strongest performance yet, reporting total contributions of $413,683 during that same period. Emerson raised more for the overall election cycle with more than $1.8 million, compared to Sowers' overall total of $1.4 million.

Emerson does have the edge, however, with the amount of cash on hand for the final push toward the election. According to the filing reports, Emerson has $483,702, about $100,000 more than Sowers, who reported $386,372.

But Sowers said the numbers for the most recent quarter show he has the momentum.

"We've built grassroots support by campaigning the old-fashioned way, by making thousands of phone calls and knocking on thousands of doors," Sowers said Saturday, noting that almost half of his contributions came from within the state.

Sowers' campaign manager Jonathan Fiefs had a stronger take.

"Unlike Jo Ann Emerson, Tommy Sowers is not bought and paid for by D.C. lobbyists," he said. "We've received contributions from individuals in all 50 states. Almost 4,000 people have given to Tommy, mostly in small amounts."

Emerson campaign spokesman Jordan Clothier, however, pointed out that Sowers' contributors include actors Bradley Whitford and Steve Martin and musician Curt Smith, all of whom Clothier described as "pro-abortion environmental extremists." All support President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Clothier said.

"There's a reason these folks on the left and right coasts are supporting Tommy Sowers, and I guarantee you it's not because they're hoping he'll stand up to Obama and Pelosi," Clothier said. "Voters in the 8th District who care about creating jobs, killing cap-and-trade, and repealing Obamacare are lucky so many of Tommy's donors can't vote here in our district."

Sowers said the financial reports speak for themselves.

"They show that we're picking up steam," he said. "The only poll that really will matter is the one on Nov. 2."

The two will face off in the next few days in two debates. A debate is scheduled for Sunday in Rolla, and the final one will be Monday in Park Hills.

smoyers@semissourian.com

388-3642

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