The First Congressional District
Candidates for the seat being vacated by the retirement of Rep. Ed Whitfield are in the fundraising phase. Because there are multiple candidate filings, there will be a May primary.
It doesn't look hopeful for the Democrats. Candidate Samuel Gaskin has raised the most of the Democrats competing with under $5000 raised. So far, his opponents have raised zero dollars.
Three candidates on the GOP side have collectively raised over one half million dollars. As of December 31, 2015, Michael Pape has $214,630 cash on hand followed closely by James Comer at $205,741. Jason Batts reported $92,603.
Breaking down the Republican candidates' donations:
Batts $112,291 which includes $35,500 from the candidate and individual donations of $76,761.
Comer $214,525 which includes $189,955 individual donations and $18,000 in PAC money
Pape $229,445 which includes $220,445 individual donations, $5,000 PAC funds and $4000 party funds.
Comer: $ 8,784
In a press release, Batts' campaign called his opponents fundraising efforts "lackluster" and stressed his newcomer status.
"These three reports give us a window into the kind of race that is taking shape," Batts said today. "We have two political insiders falling below expectations in fundraising, and reliant on out-of-state PACs. My outsider candidacy is gaining ground, both financially and politically. It's pretty clear that voters in the district are weary of career politicians and government-payroll lifers."
As shown in the drawing above, the First Congressional District is a triumph of gerrymandering. Shaped like a dyspeptic dragon, it stretches from the Mississippi River in the west nearly to Lexington in the east. Democrats wrought the district to accommodate a long gone politician. They have cause to regret that decision.
With the addition of the more conservative counties in south central and the growing rural character of the western edge, the First has gone from being a Democratic stronghold to a Republican bastion.
Because of the changed political landscape, May 17th will most likely be the day that determines who takes the place of Rep. Whitfield in Washington.