(LEX 18) — Fundraising for the 2023 governor's race has millions of dollars pouring into an election that is still many months away.
According to Kentucky Registry of Election Finance reports, the candidates for governor have raised more than $2.6 million in the last three months alone. But those who know Kentucky politics are not surprised.
"If someone asks you about the race today, they're more than likely talking about next year," said LEX 18 political commentator Bob Babbage.
"We are always obsessed with the governor's race," he added. "Probably before this year is over, somebody will be talking about 2027 - not just 2023."
Governor Andy Beshear currently leads in fundraising. This last quarter, he raised more than a million ($1,050,712.63), bringing his total fundraising amount to more than $4.5 million ($4,533,499.53). Out of that money, he has more than $4 million ($4,165,996.40) currently on hand.
For an incumbent governor who is not expected to face a serious Democratic challenger in the primary, experts say he has an advantage.
"Big advantage to put money away for later times," said Babbage.
"He's doing exceedingly well when you gauge that we're not even in election year yet," he added.
For the Republicans, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles leads the pack with the most cash on hand.
Quarles raised more than $300,000 ($300,221.69) in the last three months, bringing his total fundraising amount to more than $875,000 ($875,727.69). On hand, he has more than $838,000 ($838,036.53).
Right behind him is the newcomer to the race, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft. Since she entered the race on September 7th, she has raised more than $751,000 ($751,597.00).
Craft, and her coal magnate husband Joe Craft, are billionaires. So, Craft has access to significant wealth. However, she raised her $751,000 without any personal loans to her campaign. According to the finance report, her fundraising came almost exclusively from individual donations.
"She raised three-quarters of a million+," said Babbage. "That's substantial."
Attorney General Daniel Cameron raised more than $407,000 ($407,757.12) this past quarter, bringing his total fundraising total to more than $708,000 ($708,278.50). He currently has more than $608,000 ($608,554.73) on hand.
State Representative Savannah Maddox raised a little more than $100,000 ($100,732.95) in the last three months, bringing her total to more than $210,000 ($210,795.91). She currently has a little more than $158,000 ($158,027.61) on hand.
"The four, five people we pay the most attention to, right now, all had good quarters," said Babbage.
Former Northern Kentucky lawyer Eric Deters has raised nearly $95,000 ($94,670.73). However, he has loaned his campaign most of its contributions. He has about $8,100 in cash on hand.
State Auditor Mike Harmon, who was the first to enter the governor's race, has raised about $65,000 ($64,919.22) in total. He has about $31,010 in cash on hand.
In terms of who raised the most this past quarter, here's how Beshear and the top six Republican candidates rank:
- Beshear: $1,050,712.63
- Craft: $751,597.00
- Cameron: $407,757.12
- Quarles: $300,221.69
- Maddox: $100,732.95
- Deters: $28,250.73
- Harmon: $22,308.67
In terms of who has the most cash on hand, here's how Beshear and the top six Republican candidates rank:
- Beshear: $4,165,996.40
- Quarles: $838,036.53
- Craft: $732,236.90
- Cameron: $608,554.73
- Maddox: $158,027.61
- Harmon: $31,009.70
- Deters: $8,099.99