Tracy won 4th District money race despite losing at polls

Individual donors gave Jim Tracy about $3 for every one they gave either of the other main contenders in Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District race, despite his campaign’s failure to survive the primary, an analysis of the 2013-2014 elections’ final donation records shows.

Tracy, a veteran Tennessee state senator, raised $1,485,763 from individual donors during the 2013-2014 election cycle, about three times the $483,239 fellow Republican Scott DesJarlais, the incumbent who beat him in the district’s Republican primary, raised from individual donors. DesJarlais went on to beat Democratic challenger Lenda Sherrell, whose $546,664 in individual contributions Tracy bested by almost the same margin, especially if one deducts from Sherrell’s total the $150,000 she gave her own campaign.

Tracy took the lion’s share of individual donations in Murfreesboro and Nashville, the race’s two most lucrative money pots, as well as in all but six of the 18 other cities where individual donations topped $20,000.

Nearly all of the individual money that came out of Monteagle, the race’s third-most-lucrative city, went into Sherrell’s coffers. But most of the $171,660 given in Monteagle came from two donations totaling $150,000 that Sherrell, who lives in Monteagle, gave her own campaign in the final days of September 2014.

Sherrell bested DesJarlais in Murfreesboro, Nashville and Chattanooga but trailed him in most of the less lucrative, but more numerous, other donor cities. Monteagle aside, Sherrell’s most productive city was Nashville, where she took in $100,188 from individual donors. DesJarlias, too, raised more individual donor money in Nashville – $44,250 – than he did in any other city. Nashville is the state capital but lies just outside the 4th District’s northwest border.

But the overall picture clearly shows both DesJarlais and Sherrell hitting up donors who collectively were most interested in underwriting Tracy.

Here is a sortable list of donors to Tracy, Sherrell and DesJarlais during the 2013-2014 election cycle. The data are from the Federal Election Commission’s Candidate and Committee Viewer site.