Adam Edelen has raised more than $2.3 million since entering Kentucky’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, boosted by $1.4 million in loans from his running mate that gave him a campaign-cash advantage over his rivals, according to their latest campaign-finance reports.
Another prominent Democratic contender, longtime state lawmaker Rocky Adkins, had the largest amount of campaign cash still available to spend heading into the stretch run before the state’s May 21 primary election, reports to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance showed.
State Attorney General Andy Beshear — widely seen as the front-runner in the race — has raised nearly $1.9 million since his campaign started last year, his report showed.
They’re vying for a chance to win back the governorship for Democrats. Republican Gov. Matt Bevin is seeking re-election and faces primary challenges from state Rep. Robert Goforth, William Woods and Ike Lawrence. The other Democrat in the race is frequent candidate Geoff Young.
Bevin, who announced his re-election plans early this year, has raised nearly $814,000, according to his campaign’s report.
Kentucky is among three states electing governors in 2019. The others are Louisiana and Mississippi.
Edelen — a former state auditor running an aggressive campaign based on progressive policy stands — has generated more campaign cash than his two main rivals with the help of the hefty lending from his running mate Gill Holland, a developer and businessman, to support their ticket. Holland’s wife is a member of the Brown family that built spirits industry giant Brown-Forman Corp., based in Louisville, Kentucky.
Edelen was the last of the three leading contenders to get into the race but was the first to advertise on television.
Beshear has raised well over $700,000 since the start of the year, with almost all donations coming from individuals, his campaign said. More than half of the contributions were $100 or less, it said.
Beshear has touted his legal battles challenging some of Bevin’s executive actions in trying to win over Democratic voters. He also has benefited from having a famous name in Kentucky politics — his father, Steve Beshear, was a popular two-term governor in Kentucky.
Adkins — the top-ranking Democrat in the GOP-run state House — has raised more than $1.5 million in campaign cash. Adkins has stressed his long-time leadership roles in the House, including his lengthy stint as majority floor leader until Republicans took control of the House in 2017.
Adkins had the biggest ending balance at $819,412 among the Democratic gubernatorial candidates heading into the final weeks before the primary. Beshear had $574,276 still in the bank and Edelen was close behind at $533,051, according to their reports.
Edelen also is benefiting from a super PAC that has raised $641,100 in support of his candidacy. It has spent most of that amount.