FRANKFORT — Kentucky’s race for governor could get a lot more expensive.
The state Senate voted 28-8 Monday to double how much money people may give to candidates in an election cycle. The bill does not affect the May 19 primary for governor, but it would be in effect for the November general election if the House of Representatives approves it. Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo said that he supported the bill and that the House would vote on it.
If it becomes law, individuals could give up to $2,000 per candidate instead of $1,000. And that contribution limit would increase over time with inflation, just like donation limits in federal races. The bill easily passed the Republican-dominated state Senate, where lawmakers said it would “even the playing field” for conservative candidates who they think suffer at the hands of a biased media.
“We don’t have the media, where there are no restrictions on, to constantly be getting out our message,” said Sen. John Schickel, R-Union.
Some Democrats voted for the bill as a protest against the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that allowed corporations to spend without limits in trying to influence elections.
“Going from $1,000 per person to $2,000 may not sound like a lot, but in the day when you have billionaires spending unlimited sums of money at least this allows people, individuals, to increase their voice in the process,” said Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville.