Fundraising analysis: Conway's money overwhelmingly from Ky., Paul benefits from small donations across the U.S. and Ky.

09/08/2010 08:42 AM

So far in Kentucky’s U.S. Senate race, the candidates have spent more time trading shots about how they’ve raised money than how they’ve spent it.

That’s partially because the expensive TV advertising battle is only now beginning with Democratic candidate Jack Conway and Republican Rand Paul both airing ads.

But the fundraising trends for both candidates have revealed different strategies the campaigns have taken to amass the millions of dollars a U.S. Senate race demands. And that has provided fodder for each of the campaigns.

Democrats, for instance, claim Paul is losing support because he hasn’t been able to replicate the same show of force his first “money bomb” online fundraiser produced in late 2009. That event helped Paul collect more than $400,000 in that “money bomb.”

Nevertheless, Conway’s campaign imitated the approach this week scheduling his own “money bomb” Tuesday with a goal of $260,000. The campaign surpassed goal early in the evening and bumped up the target amount to $300,000.

The Republican Party of Kentucky, meanwhile, has criticized Conway for scheduling out-of-state fundraisers on each coast.

But so far, Conway has raised much more in Kentucky than from other states. And his fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show nearly four times the number of listed donations from inside Kentucky than what Paul’s campaign reported.

A cn|2 Politics review of the both candidates’ contributions through June 30 shows that Paul has successfully cultivated a broad base of donors that has been willing to give repeatedly in smaller amounts. More than 90% of Paul’s 5,380 itemized donations have been worth less than $500.

And many of those contributions coincided with his campaign’s “money bombs.”

One-third of Paul’s $1.37 million in reported contributions come from Kentucky, according to the reports. That $1.37 million represents just a portion of the total $3.5 million that he has raised because federal election rules only require donations of $200 or more to be reported. Campaigns can voluntarily reveal donors who send in less than that, which Paul’s campaign has done in many cases.

Conway’s fundraising base through June 30 largely has been concentrated in Kentucky with more than 70 percent of Conway’s itemized receipts coming from in state. Those contributions add up to more than $3 million, not including Conway’s personal loans to the campaign.

Here’s a breakdown of the two candidates’ reported donations from Kentucky:

  • Paul: $389,103 from 1041 contributions
  • Conway: $3,468,694  from 4,020 contributions
  • And here’s where the most Kentucky donations to Paul are coming from:
  • Louisville – $81,756
  • Bowling Green – $61,820
  • Lexington – $48,465

And these are the three cities reporting the most donations to Conway:

  • Louisville – $1.5 million
  • Lexington – $383,910
  • Prospect – $148,200

Outside of Kentucky, Paul’s donors out-number Conway’s, but the Democratic candidate has tapped donors who have given larger amounts at a time.

Take the contributions from Michigan, for example. Paul raised $14,029 from 112 donors there while Conway collected $9,900 from six contributors.

Conway has mined donor bases in Democratic bastions of New York and California, where Conway held fundraising events earlier this year. The two top his list of other states.

National bellwether states Ohio and Missouri, who have competitive U.S. Senate races of their own, also make Conway’s top 10.

Outside of Kentucky, Paul received the most support from donors in Texas – the home state of Paul’s father, former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, who is a congressman.

Paul’s top ten list:

  1. Texas  – $151,982
  2. California – $117,954
  3. Florida – $70,710
  4. Virginia – $67,748
  5. Washington D.C. – $40,400
  6. Washington state – $36,490
  7. New York – $32,443
  8. North Carolina – $28,506
  9. Pennsylvania – $28,227
  10. Tennessee – $27,448

Conway’s top ten list:

  1. New York – $226,573
  2. California – $202,801
  3. Texas – $113,400
  4. Washington D.C. – $96,295
  5. Florida – $92,568
  6. Ohio – $92,500
  7. Pennsylvania – $86,850
  8. Maryland – $38,438
  9. Georgia – $36,600
  10. Missouri – $30,100

-Reporting by Kenny Colston


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