Four Democrats and two Republicans have already raised a total of $11,157,683 for their Arkansas gubernatorial campaigns, but $9,107,937 of that has all gone to Republican candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

In a statement from her campaign last week, Sanders announced that hers is the most money ever raised by a candidate for Arkansas governor, but only about a third of it has come from Arkansans.

“In Arkansas, the campaign has raised more than $3 million total from nearly 9,000 Arkansans,” the Sanders statement read.

The other Republican candidate, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, has raised a total of $1,447,289, but a statement from her campaign announced that 80 percent of that is from Arkansans.

Democratic candidate Chris Jones has raised $587,247, and only about $15,000 has been raised between the other three Democratic candidates that have announced they are running according to Talk Business – Dr. Anthony Bland, Supha Xayprasith-Mays, and James “Rus” Russell.

The primary date for next year hasn’t been announced yet, the general election will fall on Nov. 8, 2022, so all the money raised so far is a pretty good start for a job that pays about $151,000 a year.

Campaign finance records

On the federal level, spending on last year’s elections totaled $14.4 billion, which was more than double what was spent in 2016. Democrats spent about $7 billion on elections last year while Republicans spent about $5 billion. Then another billion, or so, was spent by Democratic billionaire candidates Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, who would have been better off using that money to build rockets to go into space.

According to OpenSecrets.org, the top super PACs last year also blew away previous spending records.

“The Senate Leadership Fund, aligned with GOP leader Mitch McConnell, spent nearly $294 million. The Senate Majority PAC, led by Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, was right behind with $230 million in spending. Prior to the 2020 election, no group had spent $200 million in a single cycle,” Open Secrets reports, adding that each of the top seven super PACs were partially funded by dark money.

Even though super PACs can raise unlimited sums of money to be used for or against political candidates, and they are supposed to disclose their donors, they can accept unlimited contributions from nonprofits who do not disclose their donors.

Maybe one day we can elect officials who will be more interested in working on campaign finance restrictions instead of voting restrictions.

Steve Gillespie is an editor with Paxton Media Group. Email him at news@newportindependent.com.

Steve Gillespie is an editor with Paxton Media Group. Email him at news@newportindependent.com.

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