Legg files campaign finance report late, but shows raising nearly 5 times as much as Johnson

04/22/2011 10:04 AM

Republican Secretary of State candidate Hilda Legg said the campaign fundraising report she filed a day after the deadline will show that she raised $119,000 and has about $100,000 on hand.

Her opponent in the May 17 GOP primary — Todd County businessman Bill Johnson — has raised a total of just more than $23,000 and has less than $4,000 on hand.

Legg, in a phone interview, said her campaign tried to meet the midnight deadline Wednesday to submit the report to the Kentucky Registry of Election finance, but fell short. She declined to say why the campaign report was late because she said she didn’t want to place blame on anyone.

“I regret that it was late. It is not acceptable. It is not the way we do business,” she said. “Nobody was more upset on Wednesday night at 11 o’clock than I was. But the good part was there was so much (money) to enter into the report.”

The secretary of state’s position oversees the voting and election process in Kentucky. While it doesn’t manage campaign finance, past secretaries of state have been involved in pushing for campaign fundraising reforms.

Legg’s opponent, Bill Johnson, criticized her heavily in a phone interview with Pure Politics, saying that as a potential chief elections officer, Legg is setting a “bad example for future candidates” by filing late.

“As part of the executive branch it is critical that you manage and get things done on time,” Johnson said. “I think this demonstrates an ability of my opponent to make charity calls but not that she can manage anything.”

But when asked about the money difference between the two candidates, Johnson said his name recognition from running in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate last year already gives him an advantage over Legg. Johnson said it is Legg who needs to raise more money to get her name out, while he doesn’t have to get his name out to Republican voters as much because of the Senate race.

And if necessary, Johnson said he’ll use his own personal money to fund the primary race, despite saying on an earlier edition of Pure Politics that using his own money in that U.S. Senate nearly bankrupted him.

But he said that won’t apply to this secretary of state race.

“I think the difference is I go to work everyday to raise money and I put it in the bank instead of calling people and asking for charity,” Johnson said.

- Ryan Alessi and Kenny Colston

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