Williams-Farmer holds big fund-raising lead in GOP primary

But fund-raising falls way short of Beshear's

jbrammer@herald-leader.comApril 21, 2011 

Kentucky Senate

Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, makes a point while discussing a bill during the legislative session in Frankfort, Ky., Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)

ED REINKE — AP

FRANKFORT — Republican candidate for governor David Williams and his running mate, Richie Farmer, took in $446,943 from Jan. 1 through April 15, giving their campaign for the state's highest offices more than $1.2 million for the May 17 primary election.

The slate of Senate President Williams and state Agriculture Commissioner Farmer, which reported having $669,839.23 in cash on hand, easily outpaced the other two GOP slates for governor — Louisville businessman Phil Moffett with state Rep. Mike Harmon of Danville and Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw with Navy veteran Bill Vermillion of Caneyville.

The Moffett-Harmon slate reported $45,883 in campaign funds from Jan. 1 to April 15. It has raised a total of about $100,000 for the election, according to the campaign. It was not immediately clear how much cash the campaign has remaining.

The Holsclaw-Vermillion ticket this week showed $22,774 in receipts for its campaign, with $15,289.44 in cash on hand.

Although Williams has raised enough to launch a statewide television campaign in coming weeks, his fund-raising trails that of Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear by a wide margin.

Beshear, who is seeking re-election on a ticket with former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson, reported earlier this week raising $1.27 million from Jan. 1 to April 15.

The total raised by the Beshear-Abramson campaign so far is $4.8 million. It reported $3.3 million on hand in the campaign's quarterly finance update, filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. The Beshear-Abramson ticket is unopposed in the May 17 Democratic primary election.

The Williams-Farmer ticket claimed in a news release that it is well-positioned to win the May GOP primary and will be ready for Beshear and Abramson in the November general election.

The last gubernatorial challenger who ran a contested primary before beating an incumbent governor was Beshear in 2007, the Williams-Farmer campaign noted. At this point in his 2007 campaign, Beshear had raised $1.1 million, the GOP ticket added.

"We have thousands of supporters sending a strong message that it is time we had a governor who cares more about job creation and fiscal responsibility than politics and misdirection," said former state Adjutant General Donald Storm, who is chairman of the Williams-Farmer campaign.

Storm said the GOP ticket will have the resources to win the primary and "build a strong foundation for the fall campaign." Williams issued a personal loan of $100,000 to the campaign last September to get it started.

Contributors who gave the maximum of $1,000 to Williams and Farmer in this latest filing period included Alliance Resource Partners executive Joseph Craft of Tulsa, Okla.; real estate developer Jean Frazier of Prospect; retired Louisville businessman Owsley Frazier; First Corbin Financial Corp. Vice President Mark Terry; Roger Alsip of Lexington, executive with Forcht Group of Kentucky; Louisville Plate Glass Co. President Bill Stone; Peritus Public Relations executive Timothy Mulloy of Louisville; Sullivan University President Alva Sullivan of Louisville; state Sen. Dan Seum of Louisville; Wildcat Ford General Manager Paul Cleaver of Lexington; Somerset farmer Kenneth Beshears; Lexington attorney Larry Forgy; Jones Oil Co. President Earl Jones of Pikeville; The Kentucky Deferred Deposit Association; and Housing Industry PAC of Kentucky.

Contributors who gave $1,000 this filing period to Beshear and Abramson included Fort Thomas Realtor Megan E. Abner; Danville auto dealer Bob Allen; Lexington engineer Jason D. Banks; Prestonsburg attorney Keith Bartley; Somerset engineer James M. Patterson; Louisville investment adviser Morton H. Sachs; Amerigroup PAC of Virginia Beach, Va.; Better Schools KY PAC of Louisville; Kentucky Forward State PAC of Frankfort; Kentucky Society of Certified Public Accountants; and Kentucky Association of Real Estate Appraisers.

In the Democratic primary race for secretary of state, Lexington attorney Alison Lundergan Grimes reported $303,283 in contributions compared with $100,420 for Elaine Walker, whom Beshear appointed to the office last year to serve the remainder of departing Trey Grayson's term.

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