- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Gov. Robert Bentley has surpassed the $6 million fundraising mark in his quest to win a second term in office.

Bentley has raised $6.1 million over the last two years, according to campaign finance reports filed Thursday. The incumbent governor has a campaign balance of $1.6 million going into the election season homestretch.

Republican Bentley maintains a lopsided fundraising advantage over Democrat Parker Griffith.

Griffith has raised $347,000 in cash donations since announcing his bid for governor. The former congressman has also loaned his campaign $391,000. Griffith has a campaign balance of $21,625.

Bentley’s deep campaign pockets illustrate his transformation from underdog to favorite. Bentley, a former state legislator, was originally considered a long shot candidate when he entered the 2010 race for governor.

Bentley, over the course of his re-election campaign, has received $2 million from political action committees, $1.9 million from businesses and groups and $2.1 million from individual donors.

Bentley’s large direct contributors include $109,000 from a Tuscaloosa PAC, $105,000 from the PAC run by the Business Council of Alabama, $100,000 from retired Louisiana energy executive William Dore and $75,000 from coal company Drummond Company, Inc.

The Alabama Education Association is Griffith’s largest contributor. The teachers’ lobby gave Griffith $300,000 in September.

AEA helped Bentley get elected governor four years ago by bankrolling attacks ads against his opponent in the GOP runoff, Bradley Byrne.

Both candidates used their funds to debut new campaign ads this month.

Griffith, in his ad, accuses Bentley of being afraid to debate him. Bentley’s ad lashes out at the federal government.

Bentley and Griffith are both doctors. Bentley is a dermatologist and Griffith is a radiation oncologist.

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