GOP House candidate drops $90k of his money even as Democratic PAC claims he didn't pay bill

10/18/2012 01:41 PM

Republican House candidate Jason Crockett has pumped $90,000 of his own money into his bid to win the open 3rd state House District in Paducah, as a Democratic super PAC airs an ad accusing him of failing to a pay a $100 medical bill.

Crockett, a 33-year-old radio station manager in Paducah, said in a telephone interview with Pure Politics on Thursday that the money he has put into the race is essentially his life savings.

“Actually, I was saving that money to buy myself a new house. I somehow have convinced myself I should invest it in this race,” Crockett said. “I do get bonuses in my radio station. I’ve been very careful to save money in my life.”

Crockett is essentially bankrolling his campaign himself, having received just $3,425 from 17 donors, including $250 from construction company owner and former GOP candidate for governor Billy Harper. And he got a $1,000 check from U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s leadership PAC, the Bluegrass Committee, according to his campaign finance report filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

“I’m being extremely honest, I thought fundraising was going to be a lot easier. While I have seen a lot of support and lots of people have come out of the woodwork, the fundraising aspect has been more difficult than I expected,” he said.

Crockett listed on his personal financial disclosure form filed with the Legislative Ethics Commission that his only income is as manager of a network of six radio stations owned by Stratemeyer Media and Sun Media Inc. He didn’t report any business interests or real estate holdings worth more than $10,000.

Crockett is running against Gerald Watkins, a Paducah city commissioner and political science professor at Western Kentucky Community and Technical College. They are vying for the 3rd District seat, which has a majority of registered Democrats but has been represented for the last four years by Republican Rep. Brent Housman, who decided not to run for a third term.

Meanwhile, the Kentucky Family Values PAC, a super PAC that is helping Democrats in state House races, began airing a commercial on Padcuah television on Tuesday that criticizes Crockett for being taken to court for failing to pay a medical bill of more than $100 in 2009. The ad is scheduled to air through Monday.

Crockett said he wasn’t aware of any contested bills until he saw the commercial against him.

“I didn’t show up to court. I was never served a summons. I didn’t know I had this. I didn’t know the situation was there, to be honest with you,” Crockett said. “I’m saying that most of this stuff was an oversight. And frankly, most of Kentuckians can identify with that kind of a situation.”

Crockett said he doesn’t know what that leftover medical bill would have been from and said as far as he knows, “I don’t owe anything. I don’t have any unsatisfied collections.”

The Kentucky Family Values PAC ran ads in last year’s governor’s race in support of Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear. The PAC has raised $236,000 from Democratic donors and unions — including $50,000 from the Kentucky Education Association, as Kentucky Public Radio’s Kenny Colston reported.

Crockett’s campaign finance report online doesn’t include intemized campaign expenditures. Crockett said he has been advertising through direct mail, radio and will advertise on TV.

He said he paid higher rates on the stations his company owns than some of the competitor stations that have more listeners.

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