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Are campaign dollars a finite resource? Kentucky Dems will soon find out.
Auditor Adam Edelen, running for 2nd term. Alison Lundergan Grimes is running for US Senate. AG Jack Conway in the race for governor.

Jack Conway and running mate Sannie Overly took in over $750,000 in the seven weeks since May 6th, when they became a slate to run for governor and lieutenant governor. They also picked up endorsements from Crit Luallen, former Governor Wendell Ford and Congressman John Yarmuth.

Pundits wondered at the time of the announcement if Conway’s early start in the governor’s race would hurt Alison Lundergan Grimes’ fundraising efforts. Grimes just announced that in the second reported quarter her campaign raised $4 million dollars. That’s one million dollars more than her opponent’s $3 million.

The reported numbers don’t include the interest group money spent running ads for either candidate. The conservative side seems to be doing a better job using outside money than the Dems. The Grimes advantage is that every dollar a regular Kentuckian contributes to her directly translates to a vote on Election Day. Money may be speech and corporations may be people, but they can’t queue up to vote. McConnell’s support ads are more focused on why NOT to vote for Grimes than to make a case of why to vote to keep the senior senator in Washington.

It ain’t over yet by any means. This contest will go to the bloody bitter end and Grimes still has an uphill battle. McConnell has over nine million in his campaign account to her six million. While Grimes fundraising is a juggernaut, the game’s not over until the last polling place in the Purchase closes on November 4th.

We dare any pundit – be they Fox News or MSNBC - to call a winner before all the votes are counted. As a two time zone state, an early call may just hurt the incumbent who has come to consider Western Kentucky his stronghold.

But this story isn’t about Mitch and Alison.

This story is about the 2015 governor’s race which has already started. There seems little doubt that if the contest was held tomorrow that Conway and Overly should be odds on favorites to defeat the Republican standard bearer Hal Heiner and his running mate, K. C. Crosbie. Nobody, outside of Jefferson County, knows Mr. Heiner. Ms. Crosbie ran for Kentucky state treasurer and lost to Todd Hollenbach in a close race.

The governor's race isn’t tomorrow and it is no means a sure thing that Mr. Conway and Mr. Heiner will be their party’s nominees. Names like Comer and Mongiardo keep coming up as potential candidates.

We opined several months ago that Conway’s decision to let a federal judge’s decision on marriage equality stand unchallenged by his office doomed his political future. We also said several years ago that his use of profanity would doom his political future. He proved us wrong on that count.

He may yet prove us wrong on this one. But we cannot believe that even with three quarters of a million dollars raised at the beginning of the campaign will run any serious candidate out of the governor’s race.

Has Conway’s fundraising hurt Grimes? Probably no more than Andy Beshear’s fund raising of one million dollars in his 2015 race for attorney general has hurt her.

It is well known that the Lundergans and Beshears are not best buds. (Dads Jerry and Steve go way back.) WaPo: Beshear- Lundergan Family Feud  In the spirit of auld lang syne, Governor Steve Beshear has been a supporter of Grimes’ run against McConnell from early on in her campaign.

We do find it odd that the pundits bewailed Conway’s effect on the Grimes’ campaign while giving Beshear Jr. a pass.

But as one comment on facebook opined – if Conway’s money raising causes Grimes’ defeat this November, she may very well have her revenge next November.

Ah, Kentucky politics!


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