- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mike Ross again outpaced his chief Republican rival in fundraising for the state’s top office, bringing in more than $540,000 during the last three months of 2013, according to campaign finance reports filed Wednesday.

Ross, a former congressman and the only Democrat running for governor, reported having more than $2.5 million in the bank at the end of 2013. Wednesday was the deadline for candidates for state office to file their fundraising reports for the quarter that ended Dec. 31.

Ross, who spent more than $429,000 during the quarter, has raised more than $3.6 million since launching his bid in April.

“Our message of putting good solutions over partisan politics continues to resonate across this great state and we are beginning 2014 in a very strong position,” Ross said in a statement released by his campaign.

Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, who has endorsed Ross, is barred by term limits from seeking another term this fall. Former U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson, state Rep. Debra Hobbs and Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman are seeking the Republican nomination.

Ross also reported more than $9,400 in non-monetary contributions to his campaign. He’s spent more than $1.1 million since joining the race.

Hutchinson, who was the party’s nominee in 2006 and has the backing of the state’s top Republicans, raised more than $446,000 during the same quarter and ended the year with more than $1.3 million in the bank. Hutchinson has raised more than $1.5 million since launching his bid in early 2013.

Hutchinson also reported more than $5,200 in non-monetary contributions.

Coleman reported raised more than $53,000 during the quarter and spending more than $60,000. He has about $9,300 in the bank. Fundraising figures were not immediately available for Hobbs.

Republicans are increasingly confident they can win the state’s top office after recent electoral gains. The GOP took over the state House and Senate in the 2012 election, and they won three of the state’s seven constitutional offices in the 2010 election

Ross this month began airing his first television ad, a 30-second spot that touts Beebe’s support for Ross.

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Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo


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