Johnny DuPree faced an uphill battle in his race for governor this year. As a Democrat running in a state trending more Republican, an African American where people often vote along racial lines and a mayor without the state-level political experience of his opponent, his chances were slim.
Having one-seventh of the funds that his opponent had didn't help, either.
Lt. Gov. (now Gov.-elect) Phil Bryant, on the other hand, was already in a state-level position. He was practically the default successor to the popular Gov. Haley Barbour, who himself was a national Republican Party insider. The national party and the friends Bryant made through his years in Mississippi's political scene helped him build his campaign war chest.
Through Oct. 29, when candidates turned in their pre-election campaign finance reports, Bryant had spent more than $5.5 million on his campaign, while DuPree had spent less than $750,000.
The two candidates also had dramatically different pools of resources at the beginning of the year. At the end of 2010, Bryant had a little more than $2 million waiting to be spent. Through October, he raised almost $4.3 million to add to that. His biggest contributor was the state branch of the Republican Governors Association, RGA Mississippi PAC, which contributed $575,000.
To compare, DuPree had just under $66,000 at the beginning of the year, and he raised less than $1.2 million through October. He got $142,000 from the Democratic Governors Association, $42,000 of that for a polling memo.
Most of what he received from his second biggest contributor came in the form of donated office space. DuPree himself was his third-largest contributor, donating more than $54,000 to his campaign.
In the end, Bryant won the election with 61 percent of the vote; still, DuPree won 39 percent of the vote with considerably less money.
Candidates must file their final campaign-finance reports Jan. 10. Those will cover contributions and expenditures from Oct. 30 through Dec. 31.
Top contributors to the Bryant campaign through October:
1. RGA Mississippi PAC - $575,000
2. Hensley R. Lee, president, HR Lee Construction - $55,000
3. Mississippi Health Care Association PAC - $50,000
4. Electric Power Associations of Mississippi State PAC - $45,000
5. Homebuilders Association of MS PAC - $40,000
6. Health Management Associates of Mississippi PAC - $35,000
7. Sam Haskell, writer - $35,000
8. Wallace Carter, owner, Delta Sanitation of MS - $35,000
9. Johnny Morgan, president, Morgan & White Insurance - $34,000
10. James L. Barksdale, president and CEO, Barksdale Corp. - $32,500
Top contributors to the DuPree campaign through October:
1. Democratic Governors Association - $142,000
2. Thomas A. Blanton, Hattiesburg businessman - $59,909.10
3. Johnny DuPree - $54,747
4. CCM Associates of Hattiesburg LLC - $25,000
5. Kenny Morrison, owner, Twisted Fiction media company - $25,000 in-kind
6. Lawrence Warren, CEO, Warren Paving - $24,000
7. C.T. Finnegan, president, Finlo Construction - $21,000
8. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Educational Committee - $20,000
9. Maurice B. Tose, retired, U.S. Navy Reserve - $20,000
10. Warren A. Hood, businessman - $20,000
We Democrats have to do better. We at least have to run somebody in every race. However, I doubt it will matter. The south is still the south. The past is not even the past.