House candidates tout fundraising figures

If money talks in politics, then congressional candidate Garret Graves was speaking at the top of his voice Wednesday.

But a candidate in another congressional district, Zach Dasher, may drown him out with a Duck Commander duck call.

Graves, a former aide to Gov. Bobby Jindal, said he raised $493,000 in the April-June period, bringing his total for the 6th District race to nearly $815,000.

The 6th District includes part of Baton Rouge and reaches north into the Feliciana parishes and south to Houma. Graves is one of a passel of Republicans seeking to succeed another Republican, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is challenging the re-election of Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu this fall.

The state’s five other U.S. House incumbents are expected to cruise to re-election this fall, with the possible exception of Republican Vance McAllister, who represents the 5th District in northeast Louisiana.

McAllister, sent to Congress in a 2013 special election to fill an unexpired term, was caught on videotape earlier this year in an extended smooch with a female aide from his Monroe district office. Both are married, not to one another — though they, and their respective spouses, are longtime friends.

The resulting scandal led McAllister to say, initially, that he would not seek re-election — but he announced June 30 that he had changed his mind. His filing Wednesday reported that his campaign took in a bit under $40,000 in the period, with a fourth of that coming from his own pockets (his election-cycle-to-date total is distorted by including his 2013 receipts). He spent $42,000 in the quarter and had less than $5,000 on hand June 30.

McAllister got a boost in his 2013 run from an endorsement by the Robertson family that stars on the “Duck Dynasty” TV show. But he faces a challenge this year from Dasher, a Republican pharmaceutical representative who is the nephew of family patriarch Phil Robertson.

Dasher reported raising $174,000 in the quarter, his total for the campaign, including a maximum contribution of $5,200 from his famous uncle and several others of equal of lesser amounts from other Robertsons. He spent less than $3,000, so the rest is still on hand for him.

Another Republican challenger to McAllister, Monroe businessman Harris Brown, reported raising $235,000 in the period, his campaign total. Of that, $50,000 is a loan from the candidate. Almost all of the total raised is on hand, as he has spent less than $2,000.

Graves may hope his fundraising haul will scare off some of his intraparty rivals and put him in a Dec. 6 run-off in the 6th congressional district race with the leading Democratic candidate, former Gov. Edwin Edwards, if no candidate captures a majority of the vote in the Nov. 4 open primary. Whoever emerges from the Republican pack would be heavily favored in a match-up with a Democrat.

U.S. House candidates were to meet a Wednesday midnight deadline for electronically filing second-quarter fundraising reports with the Federal Election Commission. Graves actually announced his totals in a news release Wednesday morning, and his filing had not been posted on the FEC website by the end of work day.

Edwards’ was posted, and he reported raising $177,000 in the period, for a total of $210,000 in the election. He said he spent $63,000 in the quarter, leaving him with $141,000 in cash on hand.

Other Republicans posting in the Sixth District included Paul Dietzel, a businessman whose grandfather coached a national championship LSU football team, reported raising $129,000 in the quarter and $429,000 in the campaign to date. He spent $87,000 in the quarter, leaving $111,000 on hand.

Craig McCulloch, a physical therapist who is another Republican in the race, reported taking in $124,000 in the quarter to bring his campaign total to $257,000. He spent $137,000 in April-June, leaving him with $93,000 at the end of the period.

Other candidates who posted reported minimal fundraising success.

Follow Gregory Roberts of The Advocate Washington bureau on Twitter @GregRobertsDC