- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Democratic candidate Mike Ross raised more than $491,000 over the past month in his bid for Arkansas governor, surpassing his chief Republican rival as the two prepare for their respective primaries next week, according to reports filed Tuesday.

Ross reported raising $491,153 since April 1 in his bid for the state’s top office. Republican candidate Asa Hutchinson reported raising $240,375 during the same period. Tuesday was the deadline to file fundraising reports ahead of the May 20 primary.

Ross and Hutchinson are former congressmen who face underfunded, lesser-known rivals in their primaries next week and have instead been focusing on their expected general election matchup. Hutchinson faces Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman in the GOP primary, while Ross faces substitute teacher Lynette Bryant.

Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe is unable to seek re-election this fall because of term limits.

Ross and Hutchinson both reported spending more than they raised. Hutchinson spent more than $579,000, with $439,000 of that going toward television ads he’s been running around the state. Ross spent nearly $507,000, with more than $124,000 of that going toward TV ads. Hutchinson reported having nearly $904,000 in the bank, while Ross had nearly $2 million.

With Beebe leaving office, the Arkansas governor’s race is one of the most closely watched in the country and a top target for Republicans, who won control of the state Legislature in the 2012 election and hold all but one of the seats in the state’s congressional delegation.

Coleman reported raising $62,060 during the month and spending $72,622. He had $5,883 in the bank. A fundraising report was not available for Bryant late Tuesday afternoon.

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