By Brandon Moseley
The general election on Nov. 8, 2022, is 51 weeks away, but campaigns are already hard at work raising money for the TV, radio, internet, telephone, print, billboard, email, and direct mail ads to convince us that their candidate is the one we should vote for to lead the state. Gov. Kay Ivey (R) is running for reelection and is thus far dominating the fundraising battle.
The incumbent Republican Governor entered this year with $176,235.81 in cash on hand and reported contributions of $2,902,568.11 in 2021. Ivey has already spent $546,928.39 on her campaign and has $2,531,875.66 in cash on hand going into this month.
Former Morgan County Commissioner Stacy Lee George reported contributions of $2,150 in 2021, expenses of $27.64, and nonmonetary contributions of $339.10 for an end balance of $2,122.36. George previously ran for Governor in 2014, unsuccessfully challenging then incumbent Gov. Robert Bentley in the Republican primary.
Lee County Pastor Dean Odle reported $44,436 in contributions in 2021, $44,719.66 in expenditures, $6,596.36 in non-monetary contributions and $15,000 in other receipts for an ending balance of $17,165.41 in cash on hand.
State Auditor Jim Zeigler reported contributions of $21,641.94 in 2021, $2,316.59 in expenses, $2,472 in non-monetary contributions for $19,325.35 in cash on hand. Zeigler is raising money but is not sure if he will enter the race.
Former gubernatorial candidate Tim James, who ran in 2002 and 2010 unsuccessfully, is talking about running a third time. James missed the 2010 Republican primary runoff by less than 200 votes. James has not yet declared whether he will run and was not actively fundraising for a campaign in October, and thus was not required to file a report. Candidate qualifying does not formally open until Jan. 4, 2022.
No incumbent Governor of Alabama has lost their party’s primary since 1970 when former Gov. George C. Wallace defeated then incumbent Gov. Albert Brewer in the 1970 Democratic Party Primary. Brewer had been elected Lieutenant Governor in 1966; but was elevated to Governor in 1968 when Gov. Lurleen Wallace (D) died of breast cancer.
LGBTQ activist Chris Countryman has announced that he is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, but has not yet filed a campaign finance report. Candidates with less than a thousand dollars in contributions are not required to file a campaign finance report.
The Alabama Republican Party controls six of Alabama’s seven congressional seats, every statewide constitutional office, both U.S. Senate seats, every appellate court position in the state, and has supermajorities in both Houses of the Alabama Legislature, so quite understandably Republican candidates are off to the early fundraising lead.
Through the end of October, Republican candidates for state offices have reported raising $55,534,295 for their campaigns to the Alabama Secretary of State’s office. Democratic candidates have only raised $17,098,118, while independents and minor party candidates have just raised $1,235,087. The powerful political action committees (PAC) reported having raised $27,170,488 to influence which candidates are ultimately elected.
None of this includes candidates in the hotly contested U.S. Senate race. Federal offices: Senate; Congress, and President, are federally regulated and make their financial reports to the Federal Elections Commission which releases public reports quarterly. State offices have a more frequent reporting cycle.