Comer nets more than $1M while Heiner spends nearly $3M in run-up to primary

04/22/2015 10:29 PM

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer led the gubernatorial fundraising field after netting $1.01 million from Jan. 3 through Friday, according to campaign finance reports filed Wednesday.

Comer, who loaned his campaign $90,000 plus another $10,000 from running mate Chris McDaniel in the period, enters the final four weeks of the Republican primary with $1.04 million in the bank, a sum nearly matched by Louisville real estate developer Hal Heiner’s $1.02 million cash on hand.

Heiner, who has loaned his campaign $4.2 million since entering the campaign last March, raised $278,101 from Jan. 1 through April 17, according to his finance report submitted to the Kentucky Registry for Election Finance late Wednesday.

Records show Heiner has spent heavier than any other candidate in the race, spending $2.7 million in the period.

For Comer, the fundraising total “is a reflection of the overwhelming support we have all across” Kentucky and gives his campaign “a tremendous amount of momentum.” His campaign has raised $2.1 million since entering the race in September.

“People are sending a clear message that this election cannot be bought,” Comer said in a statement. “We have many first-time political donors, and each donation from five dollars to a thousand dollars is an investment in this campaign and in Kentucky’s future.”

Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway, who faces token opposition for his party’s gubernatorial nomination, brought in $872,346, according to his 32-day pre-primary report. That sum puts him at $2.2 million raised since entering the election last May with $1.4 million cash on hand.

Conway, in a statement, said he and running mate Sannie Overly are “grateful for the overwhelming support” Kentuckians have shown.

“Kentuckians understand that our campaign is about building a better future for our Commonwealth — one that includes good-paying jobs, the best-trained workers, an investment in education at every level, and the right environment for Kentucky businesses to grow,” Conway said in a statement.

“The unwavering support Sannie and I are receiving will allow us to start the general election in the strongest position possible, ensure that every Kentuckian knows our plan to move this state forward, and secure a victory in November.”

Louisville investment manager Matt Bevin raised $72,717 in the period but buoyed his campaign with a $1.25 million loan. He has $286,200 in the bank, according to his KREF report.

“Matt is a believer in the plan he’s presented,” Bevin campaign manager Ben Hartman said in an interview with Pure Politics. “He’s a believer in the conservative jobs plan that he’s put forward. He is willing to do all that he can do in his own personal capacity to ensure that that plan is communicated to Kentucky voters.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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