Money keeps rolling in for Beshear

By: - October 12, 2023 10:45 am

Daniel Cameron, left, and Andy Beshear. (Austin Anthony, Getty Images)

FRANKFORT — Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s reelection campaign raised nearly $1.5 million in the past month compared to about $530,000 raised by the campaign of his opponent, Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Disclosure reports filed by the two campaigns late Wednesday with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance continue to show the Beshear campaign with a huge fundraising advantage. Since he launched his campaign in October of 2021, Beshear has reported raising nearly $18 million. Since Cameron started campaigning in May of 2022, his campaign has reported raising about $5 million.

Beshear’s campaign reports having $1.9 million on hand with a month to go before the election, Cameron reports having $968,000 on hand.

Beshear campaign manager Eric Hyers said in a news release late Wednesday, “Once again, our fundraising report shows sky-high enthusiasm for the governor that is reflected on the ground, in polling and the millions raised to support our campaign.”

Sean Southard, spokesman for the Republican Party of Kentucky, said in a news release, “Team Cameron has the resources to win on November 7. Andy Beshear is bankrolled by Joe Biden. We are running an aggressive campaign around the state. This fall, Kentuckians will retire the Beshear family once and for all.” (Southard’s comment “bankrolled by Joe Biden” refers to a contribution of $250,000 made earlier this year by the Biden Victory Fund to the Kentucky Democratic Party.)

Although the big fundraising edge for Beshear’s campaign is important, it tells only part of the story about money’s impact on this election. Well-heeled, independent super PACs have been spending millions on advertising for each candidate since shortly after the primary elections in May. Unlike traditional political action committees, super PACS can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to advocate for a candidate but are barred from coordinating their efforts with the campaign. Super PACS arose after a 2010 federal court decision.

Earlier this week, a super PAC called Kentucky Values that is funded by the Republican Governors Association, reported that it had raised a total of $9.5 million so far in this campaign and had spent nearly $9.2 million of that to promote Cameron’s election.

Another conservative super PAC supporting Cameron called Bluegrass Freedom Action reported this week that it had raised $733,180 in the past month. Of that total, it reported $530,000 came from American Policy Coalition Inc., a dark money group based in Alexandria, Virginia.

On the Beshear side, a super PAC called Defending Bluegrass Values that is mostly funded by the Democratic Governors Association, reported that it had raised $12 million to date and had spent nearly all of it on advertising aimed at electing Beshear.

Although Defending Bluegrass Values gets far more than half of its money from the Democratic Governors Association, it also gets some big contributions from trade unions and teacher unions. The largest such contribution it got last month was $500,000 from the National Education Association Advocacy Fund, of Washington.

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Tom Loftus
Tom Loftus

Tom Loftus is a native of Cincinnati and a graduate of The Ohio State University. His long career in Kentucky journalism includes four years as Frankfort bureau chief for The Kentucky Post and 32 years as Frankfort bureau chief for The Courier Journal. He is a member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame and a freelance reporter for the Kentucky Lantern.