Kentucky’s candidates for governor have now filed their final financial reports before the primary election next Tuesday, showing that the campaign of Democrat Adam Edelen has still raised and spent the most money of any candidate — largely due to another $1 million from his running mate, Gill Holland.
Additionally, the unaffiliated super PAC Kentuckians for a Better Future has now raised and spent over $1 million this year on ads supporting Edelen and attacking Attorney General Andy Beshear – the perceived frontrunner in the Democratic primary – with Holland’s mother-in-law, the philanthropist Christy Brown, now contributing $1 million to the PAC, which equals nearly 85% of the group’s total funding.
The Edelen campaign’s 15-day pre-election report filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance on Monday — documenting money raised and spent in the period from April 22 to May 6 — showed that it raised an additional $1.06 million, bringing its grand total for the year to $3.41 million. The campaign also spent $910,724 in this period, bringing its total spending for the year to $2.73 million and its cash on hand by the end of the period to $679,390.
Edelen’s new filing shows $57,000 in itemized and unitemized contributions, plus exactly $1 million in “other receipts,” though by Tuesday morning KREF had not posted the campaign’s full report.
The campaign manager for Edelen confirmed to Insider Louisville on Tuesday that this line referred to another $1 million loan from Holland, which raised the total amount that the lieutenant governor candidate has lent the campaign to $2.48 million, or roughly 72% of the campaign’s total receipts for the year.
While KREF has not yet posted the full new report for Beshear’s campaign, the summary page of their 15-day pre-election filing shows that it raised an additional $300,399 in this period, bringing its total receipts for the campaign beginning last summer to $2.16 million. Beshear’s campaign also spent $582,305 in this 15-day period, bringing its total expenditures for the campaign to $1.87 million and its cash on hand last week to $292,970.
Democratic candidate for governor Rocky Adkins reported raising an additional $132,269 in his new filing, bringing his total haul for the campaign to $1.64 million. Adkins spent $464,508 in this 15-day period and $1.15 million since he first announced his run late last year, giving him $487,173 cash on hand as of last week.
On the Republican side, the campaign of incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin reported raising an additional $243,963 in its 15-day pre-election filing, lifting its total raised for this year to just over $1 million. Bevin’s campaign also spent $653,394 in this period, leaving it with $305,608 cash on hand.
Also lending assistance to Bevin so far in the primary is the Putting Kentucky First super PAC, which has been entirely funded by a $250,000 check from the Republican Governors Association. The PAC reported spending $124,000 in this period on radio and online ads supporting Bevin.
State Rep. Robert Goforth, Bevin’s most viable opponent in the Republican primary, reported only raising an additional $520 this period, bringing his yearly haul to $766,452 – almost all of which consisted of a $750,000 contribution from himself. His campaign reported spending $26,656 in this period and $289,211 for the year, leaving him with $477,240 cash on hand.
The other candidates in the race – including Republicans William Woods and Ike Lawrence, plus perennial Democratic candidate Geoff Young – have only raised and spent minimal amounts.
According to Medium Buying, a national firm that tracks political ad spending by campaigns, Edelen’s campaign and Kentuckians for a Better Future have purchased nearly $3 million of TV and radio ad time supporting Edelen, which is well more than the $1.31 million and $786,000 spent by the campaigns of Beshear and Adkins combined.
On the Republicans side, Medium Buying found $573,000 of ad spending by Bevin and Putting Kentucky First, which was well more than the $238,000 of ads bought so far by the campaign of Goforth.
Regarding the funding of Edelen’s campaign and Kentuckians for a Better Future, Beshear’s campaign manager Eric Hyers told Insider in a statement that Holland and his family “are trying to buy this election, all while shielding themselves from transparency.”
“Adam refuses to release his 2018 taxes, while Mr. Holland refuses to release any taxes whatsoever, even though his family is pouring millions into a dark-money Super PAC and the campaign,” added Hyers.
This story has been updated with comments from Hyers.