FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Some people who provided financial support to Gov. Ernie Fletcher in his 2003 election have switched sides in this year's race.
More than 250 people who gave to Fletcher last time around are now donating money to his Democratic rival, Steve Beshear, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported Thursday.
About 95 other contributors to Fletcher's 2003 campaign have given money to both Fletcher and Beshear during this fall's general election.
In all, Beshear has received roughly $300,000 from Fletcher's 2003 donors, including $80,000 from the people who gave to both campaigns.
"They gave to the Steve Beshear campaign because they believe he is the right man to lead Kentucky for the next four years," said Beshear spokeswoman Vicki Glass.
Fletcher said he's not surprised that he's lost some contributors to Beshear, especially considering the two candidates' opposing views on a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize casinos in the state. Fletcher opposes such an amendment, while Beshear supports it.
"Clearly, he's brought in a lot of money from folks who had supported me in the past, many of them because they want casino gambling," Fletcher said. "I understood that going into this, but that doesn't mean I'm going to change my position just because donations will flow to my opponent."
Beshear has raised $4.9 million for the general election, compared to Fletcher's $2.9 million.
Fletcher said he's disappointed that some members of the horse industry have abandoned him, particularly after his administration created an incentive fund for breeders and attracted the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
Not all the crossover donors were from the horse industry. Others include prominent businessmen, such as Central Bank CEO Luther Deaton and Papa John's Pizza founder John Schnatter. Others said they switched for a variety of reasons, including concerns about Fletcher's legal troubles. Fletcher was indicted last year on charges that he violated state hiring laws. The indictment was later dropped in a negotiated agreement with prosecutors.
Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)