Conway's campaign says first online 'money bomb' raised more than $300,000


FRANKFORT — Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jack Conway's campaign said it raised more than $308,000 during his campaign's first online "money bomb" Tuesday, surpassing its initial goal of $260,000.

The Conway campaign initially set a $260,000 goal in an effort to best Republican opponent Rand Paul's two-day Internet fund-raiser last month that raised about $258,000, short of a $400,000 goal.

Just before 7 p.m Tuesday, Conway campaign manager Jonathan Drobis announced in an e-mail that "Fran T. of Gilbertsville, Ky., put us over our $260,000 goal with a $20 contribution."

"But then a funny thing happened." Drobis said, "The contributions are still pouring in." The campaign raised its goal to $300,000.

Paul's campaign responded by accusing Conway of relying on a few high-dollar donations and noted that Paul has "never included an offline event in money bomb totals."

"We're not quite sure what Jack thinks he is doing, but the whole point of a money bomb is to attract thousands of small contributions in a single day, not a few big checks from trial lawyers and liberal elites," said Gary Howard, a spokesman for Paul, in an e-mail.

John Collins, a spokesman for Conway's campaign, said Conway "is proud of the support he's received from every corner of Kentucky."

Asked if the Conway campaign included any money raised elsewhere in its money bomb total, Collins acknowledged that the campaign raised about $45,000 from e-mails it sent to supporters before the fund-raising began Tuesday.

Several high-profile people and groups backed the "Conway Fight Fund," including retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark and U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Chuck Schumer of New York.

Paul's biggest haul from a money bomb occurred in August 2009 when he raised more than $436,000 in less than 24 hours. The goal was $1 million.

The money bomb was popularized by Paul's father, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, in his unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid.

At the end of June, Paul's campaign reported $319,000 cash on hand compared with $703,000 for Conway's campaign. For the entire election cycle, the June report said Paul has raised $3,547,054, compared with $3,710,345 for Conway, who has put at least $500,000 of his own money in the race.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader