Left: U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, left, at the Faith and Freedom event In Nashville in June 2022. Right: State Rep. Gloria Johnson at her Sept. 5 campaign launch. (Photos: John Partipilo)
Tennessee’s 2024 Senate election — 13 months off — is already drawing plenty of money.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Franklin, will enter the 2024 Senate election with a sizable advantage after raising $1.9 million into her campaign account and $5.1 into a political action committee during the first nine months of 2023, according to Federal Election Commission documents released on Oct. 15 and a campaign official.
Meanwhile, State Rep. Gloria Johnson, D-Knoxville, raised $1.3 million in the six weeks between announcing her candidacy and the October FEC filing deadline.
Over 19,000 individuals and PACs have made donations to Johnson’s campaign. Blackburn’s received over 8,200 over the first nine months of the year.
Kent Syler, a political science professor at MTSU, said Johnson’s donation haul was impressive but questioned whether it could continue.
“That’s a lot of money for any challenger to the incumbent,” Syler said. “Now, the question is, can she keep up that pace and make herself a real player.”
Blackburn’s campaign account has $6.5 million in the bank. Her political action committee won’t file its cash-on-hand numbers until the end of 2023. She has been steadily growing her campaign war chest since defeating former Gov. Phil Bredesen in the 2018 Senate campaign.
That race cost over $70 million between the two candidates, but polling for much of the campaign had it as a competitive race. Blackburn won it by about 11 percent.
An Emerson College poll released Tuesday showed Blackburn winning 50% of the vote in a hypothetical matchup, compared to Johnson at 26%, with the rest undecided.
Marquita Bradshaw, a Memphis Democrat, has also announced she will run for the Democratic nomination, but according to the Federal Election Commission, has not filed a recent financial disclosure. Bradshaw was the Democratic nominee in 2020, losing to Republican Bill Hagerty.
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