Ball easily coasts to victory and into history books as first two-term GOP treasurer

Allison Ball earned a second term as state treasurer Tuesday, becoming the first Republican incumbent to be re-elected to the office.

Ball, a former Floyd County assistant county attorney and bankruptcy lawyer, beat Democratic challenger Michael Bowman.

Ball also received the most votes of any candidate on the ballot on Tuesday, getting 858,578 votes.

The office manages the state’s checkbook and its deposits. During the campaign, Ball said her office has also upped efforts to root out online financial fraud. Those efforts helped thwart a $5.3 million “sophisticated” fraud scheme in December.

Democrat Michael Bowman is challenging incumbent Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball, a Republican, in the Nov. 5, 2019, general election. Photos provided.

During the campaign, Ball also touted other initiatives including promoting financial literacy and creating a tax-free savings plan for disabled people. The office has also returned more than $84 million in unclaimed property, she said. She also upped the office’s efforts to return war medals to the families of veterans.

Ball said during her victory speech Tuesday night she will expand on some of the programs she started, including her program for people with disabilities.

“I have returned more unclaimed property than any other treasurer in a single term,” Ball said. “And so next time, I have to break my own record.”

Bowman, branch manager for US Bank in Louisville and former legislative assistant for the Louisville Metro Council, said Ball should do more to protect taxpayers including auditing fellow Republican Gov. Matt Bevin use of the state plane. Bowman also said the treasurer should act as a watchdog over state investments.

He also said on a recent appearance with Ball on Kentucky Educational Television that he would be more outspoken about state investments. He mentioned a failed battery manufacturing plant in Pikeville that was due to receive $30 million in tax incentives and a $15 million appropriation for Braidy Industries to help build an aluminum rolling plant in northeastern Kentucky.

In 2018, Ball became the first Kentucky constitutional official to have a baby while in office. When she was elected four years ago, she became the first Republican to hold the office since Thomas Vinson was elected in 1944. With Tuesday’s win, she becomes the first Republican in the history of the office to serve two consecutive terms.

State constitutional officers were not allowed to serve a second term until the law was changed in 1992.

Ball had a substantial edge in fundraising, outspending Bowman nearly 6 to 1.

Ball raised $191,777.47, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. She spent $162,499.13 and had $29,278 left to spend as of Oct. 21.

Bowman raised $39,293 and spent $29,209, according to campaign finance reports filed Oct. 21. Bowman had $10,334 left to spend.

The office has an annual budget of slightly more than $4 million and has 27 employees.

The job of treasurer pays $124,113.

State Treasurer

  • Allison Ball 858,578
  • Michael Bowman 557,432

(100% reporting)

Beth Musgrave has covered government and politics for the Herald-Leader for more than a decade. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has worked as a reporter in Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois and Washington D.C.