FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Gov. Steve Beshear reported Monday that he
has banked $4.8 million since beginning his re-election campaign, a
total that sends a strong message to potential Republican
challengers that they have their work cut out for them in the fall.
The Kentucky Democrat's campaign had taken in an additional
$1.27 million between Jan. 1 and April 15, and, after expenses,
still has about $3.3 million in the bank.
Beshear took office more than three years ago at the beginning
of an economic recession that caused massive job losses and forced
cuts to most government services, either of which could have
spelled political disaster for an incumbent and made it difficult
to raise campaign cash.
Not so for Beshear.
"I am grateful for the support of Kentuckians of our hard work
to bring economic recovery and prosperity to every community,"
Beshear said in a statement. "Though I remain focused on creating
jobs and running an efficient and lean state government, I am
nevertheless pleased with the campaign's fundraising success."
Beshear is unopposed in the May 17 Democratic primary.
One of three Republicans facing off in a GOP primary race will
challenge Beshear in the fall general election. The GOP candidates
- state Senate President David Williams, Louisville businessman
Phil Moffett and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw - haven't
yet reported fresh fundraising totals. Neither has independent
candidate Gatewood Galbraith, who also will be on the fall ballot.
The deadline for the latest reporting period is Wednesday.
University of Louisville political scientist Laurie Rhodebeck
said Beshear, unlike his eventual Republican opponent, can focus
all of his campaign cash on the general election.
"That's formidable," she said of his total. "He's free now to
start spending against some generic Republican challenger, although
we all know who that's likely going to be."
The leading fundraiser on the GOP side as of the last reporting
period was Williams, who documented $750,000. Williams campaign
manager Scott Jennings said Monday that a new campaign finance
report is undergoing review and will be filed when that's complete.
The total is expected to exceed $1 million.
Moffett said his campaign finance report will show total
contributions of less than $100,000. The Holsclaw campaign
submitted a report for a portion of the latest reporting period
showing contributions of more than $7,000.
The Kentucky Registry of Election Finance requires candidates to
file periodic reports on fundraising and spending.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)