GOP's Matt Bevin starts in $110K hole, gets no donations after razor-thin victory in primary

06/24/2015 11:26 AM

Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin begins his campaign for Kentucky’s top elected office in a six-digit hole after spending more than $1 million in the final weeks of the GOP primary, filings with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance due Tuesday show.

That sum, negative $110,731, is far below the $1.4 million Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway has banked in his campaign account, according to Conway’s 30-day, post-primary report to KREF.

Bevin’s slim 83-vote victory in the May 19 primary hasn’t created new donors yet. The Louisville investment manager did not report a single contribution from May 20 to Thursday, the last day covered in the KREF filing.

Of the $856,183 raised by Bevin in the reporting period, $800,000 came in candidate loans, pushing his total out-of-pocket expenses in the primary to nearly $2.6 million.

Conway, by contrast, raised $170,341 from outside sources May 5 through Thursday, with $46,571 coming after the primary in which Conway drew no opposition, according to his KREF filing. That post-primary sum includes a $33,575 in-kind contribution from the Kentucky Democratic Party for office space, payroll and benefits.

“This report reflects Jack Conway’s wide and strong grassroots support across Kentucky — and is another indication that Jack’s message of growing the economy for the middle class, creating good-paying jobs and moving Kentucky forward is resonating with voters,” Conway spokesman Daniel Kemp said in a statement.

Bevin’s campaign did not return phone and email messages seeking comment.

Bevin may have eked out a win in the May 19 primary largely financed from his own wealth, but the $2.8 million he has spent in the election is less than half the amount dispersed by Louisville real estate developer Hal Heiner, who spent $5.7 million in his campaign that finished third in voting.

Heiner, the first entrant in the gubernatorial race, contributed $5 million to his campaign from his personal wealth, including $800,000 in the latest reporting period, and his spending dwarfed amounts spent by his opponents by $425,156. Heiner netted $55,213 from outside sources from May 5 through June 18 compared to $56,183.50 for Bevin, $27,405 for Agriculture Commissioner James Comer and $15,525 for retired Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott.

Here’s a look at candidate finances in other races up for election Nov. 3:

Attorney general
Democrat Andy Beshear: $21,185 raised in the reporting period; $47,714 spent; $1.5 million balance
Republican Sen. Whitney Westerfield: $22,586 raised; $63,101 spent; $8,700 balance

Auditor
Democrat Adam Edelen (incumbent): $21,225 raised; $9,280 spent and $350,000 transferred to his general election account; $17,251 balance
Republican Rep. Mike Harmon: $1,860 raised; $5,512 spent; $1,603 balance

Secretary of state
Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes (incumbent): $100,334 raised; $41,915 spent; $225,157 balance
Republican Stephen Knipper: $1,000 raised; $2,728 spent; $0 balance

Agriculture commissioner
Democrat Jean-Marie Lawson Spann: $1,375 raised; $162 spent; $95,399 balance
Republican Rep. Ryan Quarles: $36,412 raised; $105,644 spent; $5,419 balance

Treasurer
Democratic Rep. Rick Nelson: $3,350 raised; $3,305 spent; $725 balance
Republican Allison Ball: $4,756 raised; $17,205 spent; $10,374 balance

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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