Politics & Government

Big money in play in Central Kentucky's special House election

FRANKFORT — Democrat James Kay has raised substantially more money than Republican opponent Lyen Crews and independent John-Mark Hack in the June 25 special election for a state House seat in Central Kentucky.

However, Crews continues to benefit from strong spending by a conservative political action committee in the race to represent the 56th House District, which covers Woodford County and portions of Fayette and Franklin counties.

Kay reported raising $132,749 for the election, compared to Crews' $68,806.

During the latest reporting period — May 25 to June 10 — Kay took in $44,340 to Crews' $19,596, according to 15-day pre-election campaign reports filed Monday with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.

Kay reported having $115,131 cash on hand. Crews reported having $66,065.

The registry had not received a report from Hack, who said in an email later in the day that he had mailed his report. He said it would show that his campaign has about $14,000 cash on hand.

Kay and Crews said they were happy with the latest fundraising totals.

"We are pleased that the people of the district and the state have chosen to support James' campaign," said Kay's campaign manager, Chad Aull. "It is disappointing that our opponent has chosen to rely on outside Washington, D.C., super-groups to fund his negative, attack-based campaign."

Crews, in an email, said "my campaign is thrilled to have raised the necessary funds to execute our plans to get out my message and explain to voters why I am the most qualified candidate in this election."

Although Crews trails Kay in fundraising, the GOP candidate is receiving strong support from the independent Republican State Leadership Committee based in Washington. It reported last week that it had spent $140,538 in the race.

The PAC started running a TV ad Monday that mentions Kay's 11 speeding tickets in 11 years and asks whether he will work for the people of his district or for President Barack Obama, who is highly unpopular in the state.

An independent PAC backing Kay, Kentucky Family Values, reported last week that it had raised $7,500.

Kay, Crews and Hack are trying to replace Democrat Carl Rollins of Midway, who has left the legislature to take a higher education post. All three candidates are from Woodford County.