Democrat Tommy Sowers has raised more than $1 million for his bid to unseat GOP Rep. Jo Ann Emerson in November, according to his latest filing with the Federal Election Commission.
Prior to his June filing, Sowers had already mounted the most well-funded challenge Emerson has had in her Congressional career. He raised $334,000 from April 1 to June 30. He ended the period with $610,000 on hand.
Nevertheless, Sowers still faces a steep climb. Emerson has won the overwhelmingly Republican district with more than 70 percent of the vote in each of the past four cycles.
She also outraised Sowers in the last quarter. Josh Haynes, Emerson’s senior adviser, said the campaign raised a little more than $525,000 since the last filing deadline. As of March 2010, she had raised $916,000 and had $505,000 on hand.
Sowers attributed his haul to his “unconventional campaign,” which includes a program called “Boots on the Ground,” during which he has traveled to each of the 28 counties of the 8th district to talk with and work alongside residents.
“This campaign is people-powered,” Sowers said in an interview, adding that most of the contributions were from individual donors.
His successful fundraising skills also may have something to do with his powerful connections outside of his district.
A fundraiser for Sowers in Washington, D.C., earlier this year listed former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, Democratic consultant Karen Finney, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), Democratic commentator Paul Begala and retired Gen. Wesley Clark as hosts.
He is also a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” program.
Sowers is a former Green Beret and Army Ranger.