Obama takes back fundraising lead in Ky. from Romney; Romney collects prominent 'establishment' donors

02/23/2012 08:06 AM

As first lady Michelle Obama prepares to headline a fundraiser in Louisville Thursday for her husband’s re-election, President Barack Obama has regained his lead in campaign donations from the Bluegrass state after January.

The latest filings with the Federal Election Commission show that Obama has collected $368,299 from the Bluegrass State compared to $356,545 for Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Romney barely edged ahead of Obama after the checks rolled in from a November fundraiser in Lexington.

Still, Republican candidates combined nearly to nearly double Obama’s fundraising. Republican presidential contenders have received a total of $728,977. After Romney, Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s presidential campaign is the only other one to crack six-figures in fundraising from Kentucky with $137,683, followed by former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich at $63,790. The campaign for former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum has collected $24,840 from Kentuckians which ranks him behind two Republicans who have been out of the race for weeks: Rick Perry and Herman Cain.

Some current and former Kentucky athletes opened their checkbooks for Republican candidates, including former NBA player and restaurant mogul Junior Bridgeman ($2,500 to Romney), former NFL quarterback Tim Couch ($2,500 to Romney) and Chicago Cubs pitcher Todd Wellemeyer of Prospect ($250 to Paul).

But perhaps the most information from these campaign donation filings is who is donating, specifically to Romney. He has collected donations already from prominent Republicans. That includes at least seven who served as delegates to the 2008 Republican National Convention, including:

*Kelly Knight, Lexington 11/7/2011, $2,500 (Knight serves as a campaign finance co-chair in Kentucky for Romney and co-hosted the November fundraiser).
*J. Scott Jennings, Peritus Senior Strategist, 11/14/2011 $2,500
*John R. Triplett, Inez, attorney Triplett Law, 11/28/2011 $1,500
*Shirley Wiseman, home builder Lexington, total of $2,105 (9/13 – 12/29)
*Ellen Williams, lobbyist and former Republican Party of Kentucky chairman, Lawrenceburg, 11/9/11 $2,500
*Laura Owens, JYB3 Group and former Kentucky Education Cabinet Secretary, 11/21/2011 $500

  • (alternate to the convention) Hunter Bates, Bates Capitol Group and former chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, 11/16/2011 $2,500

Also giving money to Romney were Jim and Linda Booth, of Matrix Energy LLC and Interstate Lodging Inc. Interior Design from Inez who gave in November. Both were big supporters of Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear.

And former Democratic state Senate candidate Rex Smith of Paducah gave $1,000 to Romney in late November.

Romney has raised the most money out of the Lexington area, collecting nearly $91,000, according to the FEC reports. Obama’s top fundraising base has been Louisvile, where he’s collected about half of the total money from Kentucky — more than $181,000. Paul’s best area has been Northern Kentucky where he’s brought in more than $32,000 so far this cycle.

In all, Kentuckians have donated more than a million dollars collectively to 2012 presidential candidates.

Four years ago at this time, Obama led all candidates in fundraising from Kentuckians with $588,684 raised through January 2008 compared to $455,320 for Hillary Clinton amid that competitive primary.

Also in 2008, Ron Paul was the top Republican fundraiser around this time, collecting $128,978 through January followed by John McCain, the eventual GOP nominee, with $92,562.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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