FRANKFORT — Secretary of State Trey Grayson's exploratory committee for a possible U.S. Senate bid reports raising $602,699 since May 6, his campaign announced Monday.
Although Grayson's total more than doubles what fellow Republican incumbent Jim Bunning raised in the first quarter of the year, it's not clear what effect Grayson's tally will have on Bunning's campaign.
Bunning, considered vulnerable in the race, had no comment Monday on Grayson's campaign fund-raising report.
The Hall of Fame pitcher has until July 15 to file his own second-quarter campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission. He is expected to be asked about his fund-raising Tuesday morning in a weekly telephone conference with reporters.
Bunning has said he plans to run again but that he would reassess his campaign efforts after seeing how much money he could raise in the second quarter.
Bunning, who has been in the Senate since January 1999, raised $262,980 in the first quarter of this year and has said he will need about $7 million to run against a Democratic challenger.
Grayson has not yet filed his report to identify the sources of his contributions. He only issued a news release about it Monday.
Lexington businessman Jim Host, who has contributed to Bunning's and Grayson's campaigns, said Grayson's report shows that "he can become a super-viable candidate if Jim Bunning gets out."
Louisville businessman Bill Stone, a friend of Bunning, said Grayson's fund-raising ability "demonstrates how completely the public has backed his job as secretary of state for the last six years."
Stone said he had "no guess" on how Bunning might react to Grayson's report.
Grayson said in a statement that he is "humbled by the outpouring of support from men and women across Kentucky.
"As I traveled around the Commonwealth the last few weeks, the encouragement I received was overwhelming and confirmed the solid base of support I am finding for a run for U.S. Senate," he said.
Grayson initially said he had no plans to run for the office if Bunning seeks re-election. Recently, he has said he has no plans at this time to run if Bunning is in the race.
Grayson's campaign said more than 99 percent of contributions it received were from individuals and 93 percent of the contributors are Kentucky residents. Online contributions totaled more than $120,000.
Contributions were received from more than 1,150 donors in 101 of 120 Kentucky counties, and 65 percent were for $250 or less. The campaign has $572,103 on hand.
"This is an impressive accomplishment for any exploratory committee, but particularly for Trey, who did it in such a short amount of time," Terry Forcht of Forcht Bank said in a statement.
Rand Paul, a Bowling Green ophthalmologist and the son of 2008 U.S. presidential contender Ron Paul, reported on his Web site that his GOP campaign for the U.S. Senate has raised $114,337.
His campaign spokesman, Christopher Hightower, noted that Paul is a first-time candidate and said Paul's contributions mainly have come from grass-roots supporters.
Cathy Bailey, a former ambassador to Latvia and a Louisville-based philanthropist, also has expressed an interest in running for the 2010 Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat. She did not return phone calls Monday.
Bill Johnson, a Todd County Navy veteran and businessman who recently said he is entering the race, said Monday that he has been working more on organization than raising money.
He said he expects donations to increase after visits to the state by Alan Keyes, a conservative political activist who has run for president and the U.S. Senate, and Robert G. Heft, designer of the current, 50-state American flag.
Keyes is to speak for Johnson at a pro-life dinner Sept. 26 in Louisville. Heft is to appear with Johnson at a public flag-raising ceremony at 7 p.m. July 30 in Elkton's City Hall; at Johnson's home, 200 Georgetown Circle in Elkton, at noon July 31; and at the Fancy Farm political picnic Aug. 1.
Spokesmen for the two major Democratic candidates in Kentucky's 2010 U.S. Senate race — Attorney General Jack Conway and Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo — said Monday they still were compiling their candidates' latest campaign finance reports.
Darlene Fitzgerald Price, a former U.S. Customs agent from McCreary County who has said she will be a Democratic candidate in the race, could not be reached for comment.