NASHVILLE - Vowing he won't be "outraised" or "outworked" in his U.S. Senate bid, former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher says he raised $1.45 million for his GOP primary contest with U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn for Tennessee's open Senate seat.
His campaign called the amount "impressive" given that Fincher raised the money in about 60 days following his entry into the race, left open when U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., announced in September he wouldn't seek a third term.
According to Fincher's campaign, the former congressman and farmer from Frog Jump in West Tennessee had a total of $3.7 million in the 4th quarter for his campaign. The other $2.34 million was leftover money in his congressional war chest after he decided not to seek re-election to the U.S. House in 2016.
"I am honored by the strong and rapid response from Tennessee Republicans in support of our campaign," said Fincher in a campaign news release. "I promise, we are just getting rolling. We enter 2018 with momentum to win the nomination. We will not be outraised, and we will not be outworked."
Blackburn, who is from Brentwood in Middle Tennessee, has yet to disclose her fourth quarter fundraising. Reports are due to the Federal Election Commission on Jan. 31. She reported having $3.21 million in cash in her October disclosure.
Fincher's campaign manager, Thomas Midanek, former Battleground States Director for Donald Trump for President and regional political director in the White House Office of Political Affairs, called it "the kind of fundraising performance you see from candidates who go on to win statewide election."
"We are already hitting 2018 with a highly organized, aggressive fundraising program that other candidates in either party will be hard-pressed to keep pace," Midanek said.
Fincher has tapped Kim Kaegi as his chief fundraiser. Kaegi, the principal at Kaegi Resources, has done similar work for Tennessee Republicans including Corker, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, Gov. Bill Haslam and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson.
Kaegi declared that "as Tennessee Republicans have begun to consider who should replace Bob Corker, they are moving to Stephen Fincher. They are responding to Stephen's resume in business, his conservative values and a brief tenure in Congress that is notable for getting things accomplished."
She said Tennesseans see "Stephen as a guy who is Tennessee and not D.C., a person who will go to Washington to fight for Tennesseans and get good things done for our communities."
Former Gov. Phil Bredesen is seeking Democrats' nomination.
The outcome of the Tennessee seat could become a pivotal factor in which party controls the U.S. Senate in 2019.