Politics & Government

3 questions about the money race among the candidates for governor

Fundraising for the third quarter of 2009 has come to a close, and Sen. Vincent Sheheen, a Democrat running for governor, has raised more than $700,000.

Sheheen, a Camden attorney and Democratic front-runner, announced at a Greenville fundraising stop Tuesday that he has reached a goal he has established for himself at this point in the campaign. For the quarter that ended Wednesday, Sheheen has raised about $190,000.

Two Republican contenders, U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett and Attorney General Henry McMaster, already have raised more than $1 million each.

With 11 candidates for governor, money will determine which candidates can wage a serious bid for their party's nomination.

All gubernatorial candidates must report their fundraising for the quarter by Oct. 10.

Here are three big questions that could be answered over the next 10 days.

1.

Will Sheheen's fundraising total be impressive 10 days from now?

The Democratic field has expanded to six candidates this quarter, as State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex and former Columbia lobbyist Dwight Drake announced their candidacies. Both Rex and Drake have the potential to be formidable fundraisers. Could they eclipse Sheheen?

2.

Is Barrett on his way to raising $2 million?

U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, an Oconee Republican, raised $500,000 in the second quarter, more than twice as much as any other candidate for governor. Barrett could be well on his way to chasing $2 million for the year, which would put pressure on the GOP field to match Barrett.

3.

Will Ford and Grooms show signs of life?

Sen. Robert Ford, D-Charleston, and Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Berkeley, are by far the most quotable candidates for governor. But neither candidate has managed to use his quick wit to talk many donors into giving campaign checks. At the end of last quarter, Grooms and Ford each had $3,500 on hand.

- Gina Smith and Leroy Chapman Jr.

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