James Comer nets more than half a million in 22 days for his gubernatorial bid

10/06/2014 08:00 PM

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer netted $540,000 for his Republican gubernatorial bid next year, his campaign announced Monday.

The Lexington Herald-Leader first reported the total, which Comer’s campaign said comes from about 800 donors representing 71 of Kentucky’s 120 counties. Monday marked the deadline for the third fundraising quarter, and Comer’s haul comes 22 days after he launched his GOP bid alongside state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill.

Holly Harris VonLuehrte, a Comer campaign aide, called the third-quarter fundraising report “monster” and should quell concerns on his fundraising capabilities.

“The question was whether he could raise money, and I think he’s answered that,” VonLuehrte said. “He’s outpacing the field more than two-to-one, so when you have a great candidate, the right message and the requisite amount of money, that’s a great combination, and our report is extremely diverse. You’ve got teachers and factory workers and small business owners.”

With more fundraisers planned in the months ahead, VonLuehrte said she expects Comer to post a larger sum at year’s end.

“We haven’t even gone into a lot of the major fundraising centers,” she said, mentioning scheduled events near the end of the year in Louisville, Lexington, Elizabethtown and Owensboro… We’ve got a lot to look forward to.”

The early results bode well for Comer, VonLuehrte said. She noted that Comer has outpaced outside donations for his opponent in the GOP primary, Louisville real estate developer Hal Heiner, who has raised nearly $4.4 million but loaned his campaign $4.2 million from his own pocket.

Comer’s first fundraising total also came at a faster clip than that of Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway, the only Democrat to enter the 2015 race. With 56 days to fundraise, Conway brought in more than $751,000 in his first report, which translates to about $13,400 per day compared to Comer’s roughly $24,500 per day.

The Kentucky Registry of Election Finance had not posted the gubernatorial campaign finance reports of Heiner or Conway. Heiner’s campaign could not be reached for comment late Monday.

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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