Beshear raised $4.8 million in primary, starts general election with nearly $4 million

06/20/2011 12:15 PM

The re-election campaign of Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear finished the primary election with more than $4.8 million raised, according to his 30-day post-primary election report.

Beshear didn’t have primary opposition earlier this year, allowing him to stockpile campaign cash all winter and spring. And it doesn’t look like Beshear took anytime off of fund-raising during the final two weeks before the primary or the two weeks after, despite not having opposition.

Beshear’s report hasn’t been posted on the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance website yet, but his re-election campaign released most of the report to reporters on Monday.

The sitting governor raised more than $134,000 during the reporting period, bringing his total amount raised to more than $4.8 million dollars.

And he spent more than $888,000 during the last month. About a third of that money went toward overhead such as salaries, travel reimbursement and runs to the nearest grocery for fundraising events.

The campaign spent $570,000 dollars on TV ads that went up on cable and broadcast immediately after the primary. Those ads are still running, at least on broadcast.

The campaign also wrote a $1,300 check to the state treasury to reimburse for travel. Bill Hyers, Beshear’s campaign manager, said the expenditure back to the state was likely due to an event where Beshear used the state plane or state resources to travel to a campaign event.

Hyers said the reimbursement may be from the governor’s trip to a fund-raiser in Louisa in March, when the governor used the state plane to attend the event after doing a fly-around to promote his plan to balance the Medicaid budget. But Hyers didn’t confirm that was the event.

The campaign also transferred $2.25 million into his general election campaign account already.

In a e-mailed statement, Hyers said the campaign had raised $1.5 million for the general election already. If accurate, that would mean Beshear is carrying $3.75 million in his general election account.

The first campaign finance report for the general election isn’t due until October.

Beshear ends with less than half a million dollars in his primary account. What isn’t spent from there is likely to be transferred to the general election account.

It also seems like Beshear hasn’t yet tapped all the low-hanging, or even middle-hanging fruit from fund-raising. In those last weeks before and after the primary, Beshear was still getting plenty of donations from state employees and regular Democratic donors.

Among the most high-profile donations were $900 from Kerri Richardson, the governor’s spokeswoman whom Beshear recently promoted to communications director, and $1,000 from Judi Patton, the wife of former Democratic Governor Paul Patton.

-Reporting by Kenny Colston

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