Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has already surpassed $3 million in contributions for his re-election campaign, even though his name won’t be on Kentucky’s ballot until next year.
Beshear’s campaign reported Tuesday that he and running mate Jerry Abramson raised more than $505,000 in the Julythrough September quarter. That lifts the campaign’s total to $3.1 million, with more than $2.3 million still on hand, the campaign said in documents filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance in Frankfort.
University of Kentucky political scientist Stephen Voss called Beshear’s fundraising performance an impressive one that will be sobering for any would-be challenger in next year’s Democratic primary.
“I expect that’s going to be a good signal to ambitious Democrats that they ought to wait their turn,” he said.
Harlan County demolition contractor Otis Hensley has indicated he is seeking the Democratic nomination.
Beshear’s campaign said contributions have come from more than 5,100 donors in all but one of Kentucky’s 120 counties.
“We are very excited about our fundraising efforts,” said Matt Osborne, the Beshear campaign’s finance director.
In the April-June quarter, Beshear raised $666,384, he said.
The governor is teaming with Abramson, the longtime mayor of Louisville, in seeking a second term.
Beshear selected a new running mate after Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo entered this year’s race for the U.S. Senate seat being relinquished by Republican Jim Bunning, who is retiring. Mongiardo lost in a close election to Attorney General Jack Conway for the Democratic Senate nomination in the spring.
Beshear spent $9.7 million in his 2007 gubernatorial race, when he unseated Republican incumbent Ernie Fletcher.
A spirited race for governor is brewing on the Republican side next year, with Senate President David Williams and Louisville businessman Phil Moffett already having announced their candidacies.
Lexington lawyer Gatewood Galbraith is running as an independent.