- Associated Press - Friday, July 15, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Republican contenders for Louisiana’s U.S. Senate seat are outraising their Democratic opponents and sitting on more cash in their campaign accounts for the November election, as the race’s profile rises with the candidate signup period next week.

In the latest fundraising period, GOP U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, a retired doctor from Lafayette, brought in the largest donation haul, raising $1.1 million.

“This quarter’s fundraising number is a strong statement that Dr. Boustany is building support in every corner of Louisiana,” campaign spokesman Jack Pandol said in a statement. “The Boustany campaign will have the necessary resources to run a first-rate campaign.”

But his $2.5 million in the bank is followed closely by Republican U.S. Rep. John Fleming, a doctor and businessman from Minden, who raised $536,000 from donors and has $2.4 million for the race, after also giving his campaign a boost from his own personal wealth.

Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy, who has led the field of candidates in several early polls, raised $946,000 and reported $1.4 million in the bank.

Reports tracking campaign contributions and spending from April 1 through July 2 were filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The Senate seat is being vacated by Republican David Vitter, who isn’t seeking re-election. Eleven people have filed federal paperwork indicating they intend to run, though only seven have reported fundraising activity.

To be on the Nov. 8 ballot, candidates will have to formally qualify for the race with the Secretary of State’s office between Wednesday and Friday of next week.

Among Democrats, Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell leads in fundraising, taking in $499,000 for the period and reporting $868,000 on hand. New Orleans lawyer Caroline Fayard brought in $273,000 and had $634,000 in the bank.

Campbell, a former state senator from Bossier Parish who is endorsed by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, downplayed the gap between his campaign and his Republican opponents, saying in a statement that he intends to run “a lean, smart, winning campaign.”

“Since we really just started about six weeks ago, I think we’ve showed we will be able to raise the resources we need to reach every voter and win,” Campbell said.

Among other contenders, retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, a Republican, reported raising $165,000 and having $207,000 in his campaign account. Lafayette-area businessman Josh Pellerin, a Democrat and political newcomer, reported bringing in $54,000 from donors, but only had $2,300 cash on hand by the end of the period.

Since launching their campaigns, five candidates have poured personal wealth into the race. Fayard has put $650,000 of her own money into her campaign account. Campbell loaned his campaign $500,000. Fleming added $694,000 of his own cash to his effort. Maness loaned his campaign $50,000. And Pellerin put up nearly $64,000 for his Senate bid.

Several of the candidates also are expected to be getting assistance from super PACs.


Follow Melinda Deslatte on Twitter at https://twitter.com/melindadeslatte

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