Fitch out-raised by challenger, hires new manager

Lynn Fitch is having trouble raising cash and has again switched campaign managers.

In a year where most statewide incumbents appear to be cruising, at least for the Aug. 4 primaries, Fitch appears to face the most serious challenge.

The first campaign finance reports for 2015 state races show Fitch is the only statewide incumbent to be outraised by a primary challenger. Ridgeland attorney and political newcomer David McRae for the first quarter of this year raised nearly $252,000, compared to Fitch’s $88,000 for the same period. Even considering McRae and his wife contributed nearly half his total, the Republican challenger outraised Fitch in individual contributions.

Meanwhile, Fitch is replacing Cole Hughes, her campaign manager since January. She last week hired Morgan Baldwin, former campaign manager for the late U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee. Fitch previously had a falling out with Hayes Dent, who ran her successful 2011 treasurer campaign. Dent and former Fitch fundraiser Sara Williams are now supporting McRae. Fitch also has had a relatively high turnover in her top treasury staff during her first term – at least half a dozen have bailed or been fired. McRae had been a major Fitch adviser and supporter, and had worked in her office providing pro bono counsel before deciding to challenge her.