- Associated Press - Monday, June 16, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mike Ross emerged from last month’s primary with more money in the bank than Republican rival Asa Hutchinson, campaign finance reports filed Monday show.

Ross reported having $1.6 million cash on hand at the end of the month, compared to nearly $959,000 that Hutchinson reported having. The two are both former congressmen who easily dispatched lesser-known, underfunded rivals in the May 20 primary and have mostly been focused on each other since launching their respective bids last year.

Both campaigns announced raising more than $300,000 for the month, though the two used different reporting periods in documents filed with the state Monday. Hutchinson reported raising more than $229,000 - with $116,779 raised for his general election account between May 1 and May 31, and $112,808 raised for his primary account between May 11 and May 20.

Ross reported raising nearly $194,000 between May 11 and May 31 - with $64,673 raised for his general election account and $129,210 for his primary account.

Ross reported spending more than $558,000, with $411,500 of that going toward television advertising. Hutchinson spent nearly $170,000, with $124,715 of that going toward TV ads.

Hutchinson defeated Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman in the Republican primary, while Ross defeated substitute teacher Lynette Bryant in the Democratic primary.

The Arkansas governor’s race is expected to be one of the most closely watched in the country, with Republicans aiming to complete a takeover of the state’s top offices after making gains over the past two elections. Republicans control both chambers of the Legislature and hold two of the state’s seven constitutional offices.

Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe is barred by term limits from seeking re-election this fall.

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