I don't know. However, I suspect that Jeff Hartline and Cece Heil are the two front runners. Just from talking to other informed observers, these are the two names I hear most often mentioned as the two most serious candidates. From listening and observing them, I think they are two of the most qualified. Many feel the primary will boil down to these two. There are two other attractive candidates, however, that I won't name but that I think still have a good shot at running a competitive campaign. Everyone else is a very long shot.
Talk show host Steve Gill conducted an on line poll which produced 2,516 votes and produced the following results:
There are two other candidates with active campaigns, Tracy C Tarum and Jarod D. Scott, that are not listed in the Gill poll. I don't know if they were not included in the Steve Gill poll originally or if they garnered no votes. If they were not in the original poll then they should have been.
I would not assume that this Steve Gill poll is necessarily reflective of the candidates standing among Republican voters. Steve Gill has had Jeff Hartline on his program and has not had the other candidates, so regular listeners to the Steve Gill show have had exposure to Jeff Hartline and may not have had the same exposure to the others.
Today is the last day of the 2nd quarter financial reporting period. After today we should know who has the financial support necessary to compete.
At the end of the first quarter reporting period which ended on March 31st, Brendan Finucane was the leading fundraiser and reporting having raised $62,575. Finucane has since dropped out of the race however and has endorsed Jeff Hartline. Jeff was the candidate in third place in the money raising competition at the end of the 1st quarter having raised $45,155. Second place in the money competition was David Hall reporting $47,189. David's money however came from his own funds which shows the candidate.s commitment but does not show public support. Jarod Scott reported $16,689. Patrick Mirnad had raised $5405. None of the other Republican candidates reported any funds. By way of comparison, Congressman Jim Cooper reported a $407,611 war chest.
The 1st quarter report should not taken as an indication of what we can expect in the 2nd quarter report. We know that Cece has been raising lots of money. The second quarter report will tell us who are the serious candidates. Now is the time for the candidates to do some serious soul searching and think about whether or not they should continue their campaign. If a candidate does not report having raised some serious money by now, it may be time for that candidate to look at the field of candidates and withdraw and throw his support behind the competitive candidate who most represents his views. It is time to narrow the field to serious candidates.
We need a candidate to come out of this primary with a lot of support. Candidates need to ask themselves if at this point they are simply stoking their own ego and just taking up space or if their continued campaign is contributing to the defeat of Jim Cooper.