Governor Fletcher Spends $3.5 Million On Primary Race

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Gov. Ernie Fletcher, campaigning in the
wake of a political scandal, spent nearly $3.5 million to win the
GOP primary in his bid for re-election.
The heated race left Fletcher with just more than $23,500 on
hand, according to records filed with the Kentucky Registry of
Election Finance.
The first-term Republican governor and his administration had to
overcome a high-profile investigation into whether they illegally
rewarded political supporters with protected state jobs.
Weakened by the nearly two-year probe, Fletcher faced stiff
opposition from a former congresswoman and a wealthy businessman.
"We left nothing to chance," said campaign manager Marty
Ryall, referring to the hefty primary election budget. "Our goal
was to get through the primary without any debt, and we did that."
Fletcher was indicted last year on misdemeanor charges stemming
from the hiring probe. Those charges were later dropped in a deal
with prosecutors.
"We've not seen any dampening of the enthusiasm for the
governor's campaign or his financial support," Ryall said. "Our
fundraising is going very well for the general election. We're
pleased with that."
Fletcher easily defeated his two GOP challengers in the primary,
former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup of Louisville and millionaire
businessman Billy Harper of Paducah. Both candidates claimed during
the campaign that Fletcher had been politically wounded by the
investigation and couldn't win a second term.
Harper spent more than $6.1 million on his unsuccessful
campaign, according to campaign finance records. The money, nearly
all of which came from his own bank accounts, paid for nonstop
political ads leading up to the May 22 primary election.
Northup spent nearly $1.9 million on her campaign, according to
finance records filed Tuesday.
The Democratic nominee, former Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear, spent
$1.8 million while beating a crowded field that included Louisville
businessman Bruce Lunsford and former Lt. Gov. Steve Henry.
Lunsford spent $6.6 million on his unsuccessful bid for his
party's nomination. That included $5.7 million in personal loans to
the campaign.
Former Lt. Gov. Steve Henry raised $1.6 million, and finished
the campaign with a $420,000 balance. He listed debts of just more
than $1 million. House Speaker Jody Richards, another of the major
Democratic candidates in the race, reported spending $653,000 on
his campaign.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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