Fundraising update: How the top five most interesting primary races are stacking up

04/28/2016 08:05 AM

Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two part break down of recent fundraising efforts from legislative candidates.

The candidates locked in serious primary elections are digging deep into their own pockets and searching for donors to keep their Frankfort dreams alive.

Pure Politics has identified the most interesting primary races to watch on May 17, and the latest round of fundraising totals are giving a new glimpse into the campaigns.

  • 38th House District (Democratic primary)
    McKenzie Cantrell vs. Dan Johnson — both from Louisville.

Cantrell, an attorney with the Kentucky Equal Justice Center, and Johnson, the embattled Louisville metro council member, have both focused their public statements in preparation to take on incumbent Rep. Denny Butler, who flipped from a Democrat to Republican at the end of 2015.

Cantrell, a current Emerge Kentucky Democratic women’s group participant, has raised $18, 098 in the campaign according to the 32-day pre-primary report filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. She has $14,221.35 in cash-on-hand for the race.

Right at $4,600 of the donations stem from Cantrell’s own wallet, but she’s also garnered support from former Kentucky Democratic Party Chair and Emerge Kentucky board chair Jennifer Moore, as well as donations from the International Union of Bricklayers PAC and $500 from the United Mine Workers of America PAC.

Johnson has raised just $4,275 for the race, according to his KREF report. Retiring Rep. Larry Clark donated $1,000 to the campaign. Johnson has $2,435 in cash-on-hand.

  • 33rd House District (Republican primary)
    Rep. Ron Crimm vs. Jason Nemes vs. Andrew Schachtner — all from Louisville.

Incumbent Rep. Ron Crimm is tapping his colleagues in the legislature for donations in the primary as one of his opponents dropped a large chunk of cash into the race.

The district has been represented by Crimm for 19-years, but his fundraising totals are being carried by familiar names in the General Assembly including: Reps Richard Heath, Addia Wuchner, Bob Deweese, former Rep. Danny Ford, and Sen. Ernie Harris all who donated $100 or more to Crimm’s campaign.

The Louisville Republican has raised $4,250 in the cycle, but has spent nearly all of it leaving him with $388.44 left in the bank, according to his 32-day pre-primary report.

Crimm faces a Louisville attorney Jason Nemes who knows his way around state and local politics and comes from a sophisticated campaign family. Nemes is the son of former state Representative and current Deputy Secretary of the Labor Cabinet Mike Nemes.

Nemes has raised a whopping $86,280 since entering the race last year, according to his report filed with the registry. The Louisville lawyer dropped $50,000 of his own money into the race after he filed at the end of last year.

Nemes has $80,750 in the bank to finish the final weeks of campaigning.

Tea party candidate and former chair of the Louisville Young Republicans, Andrew Schachtner raised $4,770 for the contest with $3,744.15 left in the bank.

  • 94th House District (Democratic and Republican primaries) (OPEN SEAT)
    Angie Hatton, of Whitesburg, vs. Joel Thornbury, of Pikeville, in the Democratic primary.

Two Democrats are now vying to replace Rep. Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville, in the General Assembly. Angie Hatton, the assistant Letcher County attorney, has gathered $12,246.11 according to her 32-day pre-primary finance report. Hatton has $4,201.29 in cash on hand.

Joel Thornbury, a third generation pharmacist who is a board member of the Green Meadow Country Club and a Pike County Chamber of Commerce board member, raised $48,086, according to the report filed with the registry. The documents are not yet available online, but show Thornbury retaining $28,118.23 in his campaign account.

Ira Edsel Branham has withdrawn from the race.

Wesley Doughman, of Isom, vs. Colin Fultz, of Thornton, vs. Frankie Justice, of Pikeville, vs Charles “Phillip” Wheeler, of Pikeville, in the Republican primary.

In the Republican primary, former Pikeville Mayor and current City Commissioner Frank Justice II has raised $25,000 all from his own pocket, he has $19,464.14 left of the initial contribution to his campaign, according to his finance report.

Phillip Wheeler, a Pikeville trial attorney who specializes in personal injury law, has gathered $23,300 since the beginning of the campaign, he has $16.199.26 left in his campaign coffers.

Lesser known candidate Colin Fultz is also bank-rolling his own campaign with a $3,000 donation that encapsulates all of the fundraising to this point, according to documents filed with the registry of election. Fultz has $575.34 remaining in his campaign account.

Wesley Doughman raised $850 and has $734 left for the final weeks of campaigning.

  • 41st House District (Democratic primary)
    Rep. Tom Riner vs. Attica Scott vs. Phillip “Phil” Baker

Rep. Tom Riner, a pastor, has held the seat for the last 34 years, but he faces two challengers in the Democratic primary which will choose the next state representative for the people in the district. Riner’s report was filed as showing he had not raised any money for the race.

Former Louisville Metro Councilwoman Attica Scott gathered $17,971.85 for the race, she retains most of the cash less than a month from the election with $14,638.42 left in cash-on-hand.

Local insurance agent Phil Baker, a former board member of the Kentucky American Civil Liberties Union, raised $4,075 so-far, according to the KREF report, but carries a negative balance of $123.74 into the final weeks.

  • 71st House District (Republican primary)
    Rep. Jonathan Shell vs. Buzz Carloftis

Rep. Jonathan Shell, chairman of the House Republican Caucus Campaign Committee, has managed to put together a total of $53,796.50 in the race including a carry-over of more than $25,000 from his previous election. Shell has spent just a fraction of his fundraising haul with $51,103.45 left in his campaign account, according to documents filed with the registry of election finance.

Shell’s contributions include support from GOP house mates, which include Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover.

Buzz Carloftis, the former Rockcastle County judge-executive, is challenging the GOP campaign leader. Carloftis has just $4,000 for the race raised according to his 32-day pre-primary report, with $3,000 coming from the candidate and a $1,000 donation to the Teamsters Local 651, PAC.

Carloftis has $3,775 left in his account for the race.

About Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics, the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like the connection between the high profile Steubenville, Ohio rape and a Kentucky hacker whose push for further investigation could put him in federal prison. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickStorm_cn2. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or



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