July 13, 2003
When candidates for governor filed their campaign finance reports last week, two interesting items surfaced: First, both Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and Republican gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour accepted donations from gambling industry executives in June the same month both candidates said they would not take casino money. Spokesmen for both campaigns said the money would be kept because the donations came from individuals rather than corporations.
Musgrove's second largest donation in June was $40,000 from Jack B. Binion of Las Vegas, president of Horseshoe Gaming Holding Corp. Musgrove also received smaller contributions from Mississippi casino executives. Barbour's report showed he received $2,000 in June from Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. of McLean, Va., president and CEO of the American Gaming Association, the gaming industry's largest lobbying group. Fahrenkopf is a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, which Barbour once also headed.
Secondly, the reports showed that Musgrove has raised more money so far into the campaign than Barbour, who has been characterized as the ultimate insider Washington lobbyist. Barbour raised more campaign cash than Musgrove in June, but Musgrove still has raised more money overall.
Barbour raised $1 million last month, bringing his fund raising total to nearly $3.9 million. Musgrove reported raising $838,538 in June, bringing his total to $4.8 million.
This race is well on the road to becoming the most expensive gubernatorial race in Mississippi history.