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Tennessee: Fincher Is Praising the Gospel of Fundraising

Third-quarter fundraising reports will show that, in less than a month of fundraising, farmer and gospel singer Steve Fincher (R) raised nearly six times as much as Rep. John Tanner (D) did from July to September.

Fincher, who launched his 8th district bid in early September, will report more than $300,000 raised through Sept. 30, according to a source close to his campaign. Tanner’s office said this week that the Congressman brought in just $55,000 during the third quarter.

Republicans will certainly cheer the fundraising disparity as an early victory in the western Tennessee seat that they hope to make competitive next year. But Tanner was still sitting on about $1.4 million in cash on hand as of Sept. 30, according to his office.

“Congressman Tanner’s focus this summer was talking with as many west and middle Tennesseans as possible about how to help create private-sector jobs in Tennessee and learning what works in our health care system and what is broken,— Tanner spokesman Randy Ford said Wednesday. “Based on polling data, we continue to feel comfortable with Congressman Tanner’s electoral standing and the resources available to share his message.—

Tanner’s campaign released a poll of 400 likely voters taken in early August — before Fincher entered the race — that showed Tanner with a 63 percent job-approval rating while 24 percent disapproved. That poll, which had a 5-point margin of error, showed President Barack Obama with a 43 percent approval and 54 percent disapproval rating in the district.

Fincher, a cotton, corn and soybean farmer, is known throughout western Tennessee for his family singing group.

Tanner is a moderate who helped found the Blue Dog Coalition and has never faced a tough re-election race since winning in 1988. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won the conservative district by 13 points in 2008.

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