Bill Johnson favors raising donation limits, allowing non-violent felons to vote

12/09/2010 07:29 PM

Republican Secretary of State candidate Bill Johnson said on Pure Politics that he would like to see the campaign donation limits for Kentucky candidates increased to keep pace with federal donation limits.

The limits for legislative and statewide office candidates is $1,000 per donor per election. The federal limit is $2,400 this year and rises $100 a year.

Raising the limits would require legislation. But the Secretary of State’s office oversees elections and provides a podium for that office holder to push for campaign and election-related changes.

Johnson, a Todd County businessman who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate this year, had said in August that if he ran for Secretary of State he’d like to raise $100,000 at the end of the year.

Johnson wouldn’t say how much he has raised so far but acknowledged he’s not close to that benchmark. But he said he’s not considering leaving the race.

In his U.S. Senate bid, Johnson poured in nearly $200,000 of his own money in that race before dropping out in March because he said he realized he was trailing Rand Paul and Trey Grayson by too much.

“Frankly, if I had continued, I would have bankrupted myself,” he said.

Johnson also said he would favor allowing former felons convicted of non-violent crimes to get their rights to vote restored. That has been proposed as a constitutional amendment during General Assembly sessions in the past but has failed to gain enough support.

Incumbent Secretary of State Trey Grayson is term-limited, making this an open position in 2011. Johnson is the only one to file so far. But several other Republicans and a host of Democrats are considering entering the campaign.

- Ryan Alessi

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