Wise slightly out-raises Sen. Gregory in most expensive legislative primary

04/30/2014 10:25 AM

The Republican race for the 16th state Senate District in southern Kentucky is shaping up as the most expensive legislative primary this spring with challenger Max Wise out-raising first-term Sen. Sara Beth Gregory.

Wise, a Campbellsville University professor and former FBI analyst, has brought in more than $147,000 so far, relying heavily on donors from his home area of Taylor County. Gregory, who took over the 16th District seat in a December 2012 special election, has amassed more than $137,000 although she carried over nearly $50,000 from her previous campaign account.

Here’s a breakdown of the key numbers from their latest report:

……………Raised since Nov. ……. Total Raised …….. On Hand
Gregory …….$29,050 …………… $137,366 …………$86,697
Wise …………$35,910 …………… $147,549 ……….. $106,107

Both have been fundraising extensively in the district, which the legislature redrew last August to cover Taylor, Adair, Russell, Clinton, Cumberland, Wayne and McCreary counties. Taylor, Adair and Russell — which have about half of the district’s 53,723 Republican voters — are new to the district.

Both candidates are investing in their own campaign. Gregory gave her campaign a $5,000 loan. Wise put even more of his money into the race — $10,100 in loans and another $5,800 in contributions and in-kind purchases.

Of the donors, Terry Stephens, the owner of Stephens Pipe and Steel in Russell Springs and ex-father in law of former Senate President David Williams, is hedging his bets by giving $1,000 to Gregory and Wise.

Among Gregory’s notable donors are:

  • Republican candidate for governor Hal Heiner, $1,000
  • Cathy Bailey, the former U.S. Ambassador to Latvia and potential candidate for governor, $750
  • Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, $100
  • Don Ball, the Lexington home builder, $500
  • Spencer Coates, the president of Houchens Industries in Bowling Green, $1,000
  • and Hershael York, the professor and minister from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and prominent anti-casino advocate, $500

(Note: Potential candidate for governor James Comer, the Agriculture Commissioner, hosted a fundraiser for Gregory and gave to her before the last fundraising report last fall).

She also received $7,150 from political action committees. They state PACs, such as the Kentucky Bankers ($1,000), Kentucky Automobile Dealers ($400) and Kentucky Realtors ($200) and a couple national PACs, drugmaker Amgen, Inc’s PAC ($500) and seed giant Monsanto Co. Citizenship Fund ($500).

“I haven’t had any contact with either of those companies,” Gregory said when asked about the Amgen and Monsanto PAC contributions. “I appreciate their support.”

Gregory also got the benefits of seeing results of a poll conducted by the Senate Republican Caucus Campaign Committee, which amounted to a $11,500 in-kind contribution.

“We were ahead,” Gregory said. “But we haven’t done any public release of the polling memo.”

Prominent donors to Wise include:

  • Shelly Miller, the commonwealth’s attorney for Taylor County, $1,000
  • Ginger Colvin, the Campbellsville University women’s basketball coach, $1,000
  • Paul Harnice, Frankfort attorney with Stoll, Keenan, Ogden, $250
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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