The latest campaign finance reports offer some interesting insights into this fall's race for governor. The reports were due April 7 and cover campaign money raised and spent during the first quarter of 2003.
Attorney General Richard Ieyoub remains the most well-heeled candidate with more than $2 million on hand. Put an asterisk behind that statistic, however; fellow Democrat Buddy Leach and Republican Jay Blossman each have deep family pockets that can be tapped at will. Leach has already spent nearly $2 million on his campaign, and Blossman is just getting started with a costly TV blitz.
The poor man of the contest is former Gov. Dave Treen, who loaned his campaign $554.16 -- then promptly spend it renting a car and traveling to the Holiday Inn in Monroe. Let's hope he rested well, because he apparently didn't raise any money while there. Treen no doubt takes solace in the latest poll, which shows him in second place among the 12 announced or presumed candidates.
Interestingly, the richest four candidates (in terms of cash on hand as of March 31) are all Democrats. Here's a candidate-by-candidate look at the latest reports, in order of "most cash on hand" as of March 31:
Richard Ieyoub -- He had $2.1 million at the end of 2002 and raised another $411,000. He spent $273,000 so far this year and now has $2.25 million on hand. He has loaned no personal money to his campaign.
John Kennedy -- The state treasurer finished 2002 with $813,000 and raised $241,000. He loaned his campaign another $250,000 and spent $98,000, which left him with slightly more than $1.2 million in the bank.
Kathleen Blanco -- The popular lieutenant governor finished 2002 with slightly more than $1 million on hand, then raised another $136,000. She spent $30,000 this year and had $1.17 million on hand. She has not loaned the campaign any personal money.
Randy Ewing -- The former state Senate president finished 2002 with $1.02 million and raised another $200,000. He spent $130,000 and now has $1.09 million on hand. He loaned his campaign no money this year, but pumped in $275,000 last year.
Ken Hollis -- The Republican state senator from Metairie started the year with $712,000, most of it loans from himself. He raised $61,000 this year and loaned another $550,000 -- but repaid himself $400,000 of that and spent another $69,000. He ended with $853,000 -- most of it is his own.
Hunt Downer -- The state representative from Houma started the year with $557,000 and raised another $172,000. He spent $34,000 this year and now has $697,000. He loaned his campaign no money.
Buddy Leach -- The former congressman finished 2002 with less than $135,000 in the bank, but his family has extremely deep pockets. He spent more than $1.3 million last year (almost all of it loaned by the candidate and his wife) and another $200,000 so far in 2003. This year, he raised only $18,000 from outside sources, but loaned the campaign another $710,000. His report shows $662,000 on hand.
Jay Blossman -- The PSC member from St. Tammany did not transfer his PSC account to the governor's race, so he started with nothing -- at least, on paper. He raised $344,000 from outside sources and loaned another $335,000 to the campaign himself. He finished with $597,000 in the bank.
Bobby Jindal -- The youngest addition to the growing GOP field, Jindal started with nothing and promptly raised $511,000 -- thanks to his patron, Gov. Mike Foster. He spent $15,000 and finished with $496,000. He made no personal loans to the campaign.
Dan Kyle -- The former legislative auditor started with zero and raised $174,000 from outside sources. He loaned the campaign another $115,000 and spent $30,000. He had $259,000 as of March 31.
John Hainkel -- The Senate president raised only $36,000 this year. He started with $236,000 (all of it left over from his Senate war chest) and spent $35,000. He finished with $240,000.
Dave Treen -- He started with nothing, loaned himself $554, spent it, and finished with nothing. Give him credit for staying on a tight budget.