P'Pool raises $100,000 at event, including $200 from Democratic state Rep. Jim Gooch

05/02/2011 11:54 AM

UPDATED 3:00 P.M. Republican candidate for attorney general Todd P’Pool raised more than $100,000 during a fund-raiser in his hometown of Madisonville last week, his campaign announced today.

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and Alliance Coal CEO Joe Craft headlined the fundraiser, one of the top fund-raising events for a down-ballot candidate so far this election year.

Also attending was Democratic state Rep. Jim Gooch, the chairman of the state House’s Natural Resources and Environment committee.

Gooch represents a western Kentucky district that includes parts of Daviess, Hopkins, McLean and Webster counties. P’Pool is the Hopkins County Attorney. Gooch is also a strong advocate of the coal industry.

P’Pool has made coal issues a cornerstone of his campaign.

P’Pool’s campaign manager, David Ray, confirmed to Pure Politics that Gooch made a $200 donation to the P’Pool campaign during the Madisonville fundraiser.

UPDATE: When reached by phone, Gooch told Pure Politics he decided to support P’Pool financially because they come from the same region and share like-minded views on federal regulations, coal and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Gooch said he did not speak to Conway, a fellow Democrat, about support for Conway’s re-election bid. Gooch added that he personally liked Conway, but didn’t support Conway’s positions.

“I think generally too often (Conway) tries to support things President Obama comes up with, like health care reform,” Gooch said in a phone interview. “… We need someone in that office who will fight Obama and his policies. I believe that’s what many Kentuckians want. Anyone not standing up to (Obama’s) agenda is not standing up for Kentuckians.”

Among the Republican officials who attended the event were state Rep. Ben Waide and Madisonville Mayor David Jackson attended the fundraiser.

Statewide candidates will be releasing their last fundraising reports before the May 17 primary this week.

P’Pool has collected more than $352,000 so far, including $250,000 of his own money. In comparison, current Attorney General Jack Conway, raised $130,000 total by his latest report on April 15 and has $115,000 on hand.

Conway holds the record for the largest fundraising event for a down-ticket candidate during a primary season, when he raised $109,000 at a April 5, 2007, event in Louisville. In the general election, Conway raised $111,190 at a single event in Louisville on Sept. 14, 2007.

Whether or not P’Pool’s fundraiser is a record breaker will be determined by the final number the P’Pool campaign says it raised.

So far in Conway’s re-election bid, his highest one-night total was $61,000 in Louisville, but Conway has not been actively campaigning since he is unopposed in the primary. His re-election campaign did send a blanket fund-raising email to supports on Monday morning asking for support for another finance report due tonight.

The candidates 15 day pre-primary election reports will be due by May 9, giving a better idea of the distance between P’Pool and Conway when it comes to campaign war chests. But Ray stressed that the Madisonville fund-raiser shows how serious the P’Pool campaign is.

“This sends a clear message that Todd is in this race to win it,” Ray said.

The P’Pool campaign is also planning a joint fundraiser with Kentucky’s two senators, McConnell and junior Sen. Rand Paul. It is the first joint fundraiser Kentucky’s two seniors have held for a candidate, since Paul was just elected in 2010.

-Reporting by Kenny Colston


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.