James Lee Witt releases fourth-quarter fundraising number

Democrat Congressional candidate James Lee Witt, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and a former Yell County Judge, announced third quarter fundraising of $243,946.17 on Wednesday (Jan. 29).

Witt, who is running to replace U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, in the fourth district (Cotton is running for U.S. Senate), launched his campaign on Nov. 5, 2013, leaving him just shy of two months to raise the nearly quarter million dollars announced Wednesday.

The FEMA director during the administration of former President Bill Clinton is challenging community college instructor Janice Precefull of Hot Springs for the Democratic nomination.

Republicans vying for their party's nomination have the advantage of time in building their campaign war chest against Witt. Both candidates, businessman Tommy Moll and Arkansas House Majority Leader Bruce Westernman, reported third quarter totals in the six digits. Moll reported $281,000 raised to Westerman's $110,466.43 during the quarter.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Westerman said his campaign had a strong third quarter and his total raised between both quarters would be around a quarter million dollars when he releases his fourth quarter totals, which is expected tomorrow (Jan. 30).

"We'll be close to that. I'm assuming that's his total amount, and we'll be in the ballpark of that," he said.

Westerman said he was waiting to report official numbers to the press pending notification to campaign donors and friends of the campaign.

Peter Somerville, campaign manager for Moll, declined to provide fundraising figures for the fourth quarter, saying Moll's fundraising report would be released later in the week.

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As for Witt, he said the financial support of his large political network of friends was appreciated as he made his first run for office since the 1980s.

“Hundreds of friends, old and new, have offered their advice, prayers and support, and I am grateful for their encouragement,” Witt said.  “I know what working families are going through every day, how tough it can be to make ends meet. I’ve lived that life. I want to work with anyone who’s willing to work together to help make a real difference for Arkansas.”

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