Kentucky Democratic Party far outraised its Republican rival in month before Beshear’s reelection

By: - November 22, 2023 2:46 pm

A $1.9 million transfer last month from the Democratic National Committee to the Kentucky Democratic Party helped ensure that Gov. Andy Beshear and First Lady Britainy Beshear, above, would have something to celebrate on election night. (Kentucky Lantern photo by Austin Anthony)

FRANKFORT — The aggressive fundraising drive by the Kentucky Democratic Party in support of Gov. Andy Beshear’s reelection did not take its foot off the gas in October, raising more than triple what the Republican Party of Kentucky collected in the same period.

The KDP brought in  $491,474 in contributions during the final full month before the Nov. 7 election, while the RPK raised $161,858, according to reports the parties filed early this week with the Federal Election Commission.

The contributions (most from people but a few from traditional political action committees) represent only part of the financial picture as each party also gets transfers of money from affiliated political committees. And this is where the KDP padded its lead in October, getting $1.9 million from the Democratic National Committee.

When all contributions and transfers are accounted for, the KDP reported $2.45 million in total receipts in October compared to $413,000 for the RPK in total receipts for the month.

The big fundraising margin for the Democrats mirrored the huge financial margin Beshear’s campaign committee had over the campaign of Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron and was a factor in Beshear’s win on Election Day when he gathered 52.5 percent of the vote.

Republican candidates, however, won by wide margins the elections for other statewide offices: attorney general, secretary of state, agriculture commissioner, auditor and treasurer. 

The Democratic Party’s biggest expenses during the month, according to the party’s FEC report, included $1.9 million for direct mail and $425,000 for canvassing voters. It also reported making a $200,000 transfer to the Ohio Democratic Party on Oct. 5. The Lantern was unable to reach KDP officials on Wednesday for an explanation of the transfer to the Ohio party.

The largest expenses for the Kentucky Republican Party for the month were about $707,000 for direct mail and $400,000 in contributions to Cameron’s campaign committee.

As of Oct. 31, one week before Election Day, the Republican Party reported having $1.45 million in cash on hand, the Democratic Party reported having $1.1 million on hand.

An interesting aspect of the list of donors filed by each party is that most of the largest donors — those giving the maximum $10,000 allowed under federal law — could not have voted for either Beshear or Cameron if they vote in the same state as their home addresses listed in FEC reports.

Donors listed as giving $10,000 to the Kentucky Democratic Party in October:

Curtis Aiken, Pittsburgh, Pa., ProTech Compliance

Frank Antonacci, Somers, Conn., Antonacci Horse Breeding

Gerald Antonacci, Enfield, Conn., F&G Recycling, owner/partner

Rita Armitage, Vestavia, Ala., ophthalmologist

Ann Bakhaus, Lexington, Kentucky Eagle, president

Lee Douglas Beard, Bowling Green, Gaddie Shamrock, road contractor

Roy Beard, Bowling Green, Gaddie Shamrock, road contractor

Laura Lee Brown, Louisville, retired

Cheetah Clean Holding Company, Bowling Green

Darren Cleary, Tompkinsville, Cleary Construction, owner

James C. Davis, Hanover, Md., Allegis Group, co-founder

Marc Falcone, Las Vegas, Nev., executive

Tracy W. Farmer, Naples, Fla., Shadowlawn Farm, owner

Sean Flaherty, Bridgewater, Mass., Keches Law Group, attorney

David Heidrich, Villa Hills, Zalla Companies, CEO

Sandeep Kapoor, Frankfort, Health Tech Solutions, CEO

William Little, New York, N.Y., retired

Joseph Loconti, Mayfield Heights, Ohio, Evergreen Insurance, CEO

John Moore, Louisville, Altria, executive

Mary Niehaus, Falcon Heights, Minn., Health Tech Solutions

John Osborne, West Palm Beach, Fla., Global Risk Capital, managing partner,

Whitney Parke, Summer Shade, retired

Andy Penry, Raleigh, N.C., attorney

John Potter, Lexington, Hawkeye Construction, owner

John Sall, Cary, N.C., SAS Institute, executive

Virginia Sall, Cary, N.C., homemaker

John Selent, Louisville, Dinsmore and Shohl, attorney

Duane Wall, New York, N.Y., White and Case, lawyer

Steve Wilson, Louisville, 21C Museum Hotels, CEO

Donors listed as giving $10,000 to the Republican Party of Kentucky in October:

Jo Barron, Owensboro, homemaker

James Davis, Hanover, Md., retired

Kelly Loeffler, Atlanta, Ga., vice president, International Exchange Inc.

  1. Ross Perot Jr., Dallas, Texas, Hillwood Development, chairman

Joseph Popolo Jr., Dallas, Texas, Charles and Potomac Capital, CEO

Kenny Trout, Dallas, Texas, Winstar Farm, owner

Kelcy Warren, Dallas, Texas, Energy Transfer Partners, CEO

Holly Whitaker, West Somerset, retired

Michael Whitaker, West Somerset, Eagle Realty, owner

Kim Withrow, Owensboro, Henry’s Plumbing, co-owner


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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.