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Barbour to fundraise for PSC candidate Chip Beeker

Haley Barbour
Haley Barbour

Chip Beeker’s bid to unseat Public Service Commissioner Terry Dunn will get a big boost in a few weeks when former Mississippi Governor and RNC Chairman Haley Barbour headlines a fundraiser for him in Birmingham.

A source with knowledge of Beeker’s campaign operation told Yellowhammer Monday morning that Barbour offered to host the fundraiser after becoming aware of Dunn’s ties to environmental groups.

Barbour’s fundraising capacity is the stuff of legend.

When he was considering a run for president in 2012, the L.A. Times had this to say:

Barbour wields a key asset that makes him a potential heavyweight in a crowded GOP field: fundraising prowess born of decades as a Republican power player.

Presiding over his party’s national committee and then its governors association, Barbour raked in donations with a ferocity that delighted Republicans, boggled Democrats and alarmed campaign finance watchdogs.

Part of Barbour’s strength lies in his vast Rolodex: After serving as political director in the Reagan White House, he started what eventually became the most influential lobbying shop in Washington. When he successfully challenged the sitting Mississippi governor in 2003, he raised more than $11 million — almost triple the previous record.

But his tenure as head of the governors association represented perhaps his biggest coup, as he guided the organization to an astounding fundraising haul of $117 million in the 2010 cycle — double that of its Democratic counterpart.

Beeker announced his candidacy in June, saying keeping utility rates low, protecting and growing energy sector jobs, and combating Barack Obama’s excessive environmental mandates were among his top priorities.

“Obama’s radical Environmental Protection Agency is working diligently to kill Alabama coal jobs and other energy related jobs with increased regulation, which, in turn, is hurting all of our businesses in the state,” Beeker said in a letter to the ALGOP executive committee. “Enough is enough! I pledge to you that I will do all in my power as a member of the Public Service Commission to protect our state from this overreach of government and the liberal environmentalist who are pushing these policies.”

Beeker is joined in the PSC, Place 2 Republican primary against Terry Dunn by Alabama Minority GOP Chairman Philip Brown and communications consultant Jonathan Barbee.

Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

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