Beshear continues to far outraise Cameron in race for Kentucky governor

Last campaign finance disclosures filed before Nov. 7 election

By: - October 26, 2023 12:40 pm

Gov. Andy Beshear, left, and Attorney General Daniel Cameron took to the KET debate stage earlier this week. (Kentucky Lantern photo by Matthew Mueller)

FRANKFORT — The final campaign finance reports filed before Election Day show Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s general election committee has raised and spent far more than four times the amount of money that has been raised and spent by his Republican challenger, Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Reports filed by the two campaigns  with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance this week show that in the past 15 days the Beshear campaign raised $850,000, and the Cameron campaign raised $481,000.

For the entire general election campaign through Monday Beshear reports $17.3 million in total receipts compared to just $3.9 million for Cameron.

But the finances of the two candidate committees tell only part of the money story in the hotly contested race for governor. That’s because well-funded independent super PACs are also spending big for both sides. Multiple conservative super PACs have run ad campaigns attacking Beshear and allowed the Cameron side to be competitive on the airwaves as the campaign draws to a close.

Here’s a look at the final numbers available before Election Day  for both the campaigns and some of the super PACs.

The campaigns

Since the May primary Beshear has raised $8.1 million from people. This is an extraordinary amount because individuals are limited to giving not more than $2,100. Beshear has raised $200,000 from traditional political action committees, and received $3 million from the Kentucky Democratic Party. That plus nearly $6 million he had left over from his primary election campaign — in which he faced no serious opposition — brought his general election campaign’s total receipts to $17.3 million.

Cameron reports raising nearly $3 million from people through the general election cycle. He raised $111,000 from traditional PACs, and $700,000 from the Republican Party of Kentucky. (The RPK gave $250,000 of that in the last two weeks, which amounts to more than half of the $481,000 in total receipts Cameron reported in the report he filed this week.) When a small amount left from Cameron’s hotly contested primary election campaign and some small contributions from local Republican Party committees are added, the total receipts for Cameron’s campaign reach nearly $3.9 million.

Super PACs

American Principles Project PAC-Kentucky is an independent organization supporting Cameron and attacking Beshear. A report it filed this week shows it got a single contribution of $170,000 in the past two weeks from a group that calls itself Our United Voice, of Washington, D.C. Previous to that contribution, American Principles Project PAC Kentucky got $1.5 million in donations from a super PAC funded by Illinois billionaire and megadoner Richard Uihlein.

Another major pro-Cameron super PAC called Bluegrass Freedom Action reported raising $139,950 in the past two weeks. Of that, $75,000 came in a contribution from Bob Hutchison, who is retired and lives in Staffordsville. Another $25,000 of it came from Cep Holdings, of Louisville.

A third pro-Cameron outside group called Kentucky Values is affiliated with the Republican Governors Association. It reported getting $2.25 million in contributions from the Republican Governors Association in the past two weeks.

The main super PAC supporting Beshear is called Defending Bluegrass Values. It reported getting $3,935,000 in contributions in early October from the Democratic Governors Association.

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.

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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.