After pouring more than $2.3 million on Kentucky airwaves in the 17 days since his last filing the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, the financial gap between Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway and Republican Matt Bevin narrowed considerably in their 15-day, pre-election reports to KREF.
Holding a more than 3-to-1 edge in his 32-day, pre-election campaign finance filing, Conway reported a more than 2-to-1 monetary advantage over Bevin with $806,315 in cash on hand compared to $341,440 about two weeks ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
The latest fundraising reports cover Oct. 3 through Oct. 19.
Conway raised $916,681 in 17 days while Bevin netted $268,145, pushing the Democrat’s general-election total to more than $5.3 million and the Republican’s to $1.9 million, with nearly $1 million of that coming from his own pocket at the end of September.
Both candidates dedicated much of their spending in television advertising, according to their KREF reports. Ninety-five percent of the $2.4 million spent by Conway was dedicated to the television airwaves while 87 percent of the $601,132 spent by Bevin went to the same purpose, KREF reports show.
Nearly all of Conway’s personnel expenses appear to have been covered by the Kentucky Democratic Party, which gave Conway $546,620 in in-kind contributions for office space, payroll and benefits in the 17-day period, the campaign reported. Conway paid his fundraising consultant, Fundraising Management Group, $10,533 in the reporting period compared to $28,221 in personnel expenses reported by Bevin.
The top-of-the-ticket candidates weren’t alone in investing heavily in television advertising in the final campaign stretch.
Democratic Auditor Adam Edelen spent the most on TV advertising among down-ticket candidate, dedicating $386,038 of the $391,959 he spent in the reporting period on the airwaves. That amounts to more than 98 percent of his overall spending, according to his KREF report.
While his opponent, state Rep. Mike Harmon, didn’t buy time on TV, he bought $5,000 in radio advertising, good for 61 percent of the $8,207 he spent in the 17-day period.
Of the $411,466 reported spending by Democrat Andy Beshear in the attorney general’s race, $335,900, or 82 percent, went on the TV airwaves. State Sen. Whitney Westerfield, the GOP attorney general nominee, spent $132,213, with 94 percent of that — $123,771 — dedicated to TV spots.
State Rep. Ryan Quarles, the Republican candidate for agriculture commissioner, dropped $218,938 in TV advertising, nearly 94 percent of the $234,227 he spent in the reporting period. That’s the most spent by a down-ticket Republican in this year’s election cycle.
Democratic Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes spent nearly all of her reported $223,045 in spending for TV advertising, which amounted to $222,490.
Latest fundraising reports by the numbers (Oct. 3-19)
Conway: $916,681 raised; 2.4 million spent; $806,315 cash on hand
Bevin: $268,145 raised; $601,132 spent; $341,440 cash on hand
Drew Curtis: $2,210 raised; $3,341 spent; -$539.41 cash on hand
Beshear: $131,779 raised; $411,466 spent; $462,648 cash on hand
Westerfield: $54,598 raised; $132,213 spent; $33,764 cash on hand
Edelen: $33,840 raised; $391,959 spent; $198,480 cash on hand
Harmon: $7,885 raised; $8,207 spent; $9,209 cash on hand
Secretary of state
Grimes: $60,484 raised; $223,045 spent; $342,463 cash on hand
Steve Knipper: $7,456 raised; $5,585 spent; $7,824 cash on hand
Jean-Marie Lawson Spann: $39,608 raised; $180 spent; $150,634 cash on hand
Quarles: $97,211 raised; $234,227 spent; $21,991 cash on hand
Rep. Rick Nelson: $1,638 raised; $0 spent; $19,516 cash on hand
Allison Ball: $29,145 raised; $8,876 spent; $88,427 cash on hand