Fletcher Fundraising Not an Issue?

Many are reporting Ernie Fletcher’s (rumored) dismal fundraising numbers. While his campaign bank account may be indicative of waning support, we don’t think it will matter so much when it comes solely to finances.

By mid-October 2003 the Republican Governors Association (RGA) had spent about $1 million in Kentucky. If there weren’t other competitive races (the vast majority went to MO and MS) at the time it would have spent more. 2007 is a different story since Kentucky’s is the only competitive race. Mississippi and Louisiana are likely already in the bag for Republicans. The fact that all eyes are on the Beshear-Fletcher race this year should send a message to the Bluegrass State: get ready for RGA money.

As of 06/30/2007, the RGA had received about $12 million in contributions (according to IRS reporting – PDF link) and had more than $8 million on hand. Which means it will pad Fletcher’s coffers with all the cash he could possibly need to keep up. No, it doesn’t mean these efforts will accomplish anything. But people are fooling themselves if they think the RGA isn’t going to try to hold on to the Kentucky governor’s mansion with every dime it can spare. Just take a look at the front page of its website and you will see just how important Fletcher is to them. They feature his first campaign commercial of the general election.

Democrats: If you want to win you may want to get off your high horse of feeling invincible and pay attention to your competition. Run like there’s not a 20-point lead because that’s certainly what the other guys are doing. Republicans: Nice job controlling the conversation. No one’s caught on yet. They probably never will. Both: If you aren’t working as hard as you possibly can this year… what could you possibly learn and put to use during the next election cycle?

Campaign Contributions Buy Fletcher Appointment?

Last week Governor Ernie Fletcher appointed Martin D. Harley of Lawrenceburg to the Anderson County Fiscal Court. Mr. Harley, a real estate investor and limousine service operator, will serve as the 2nd District magistrate while running for that office in the November election.

But that’s not where the story ends.

Martin Harley Contributed Over $14,000 to Republicans, Including $5,000 to Fletcher, Over $1,900 to Fletcher’s Brother, and $2,000 to State Republican Party

That’s right. He has contributed a total of $14,761.31 to state and federal candidates and committees, all of them Republican. Of this total:

  • Harley made five contributions totaling $5,000 to Fletcher’s congressional, gubernatorial and exploratory gubernatorial committees between 2000 and 2003
  • In 2004, Harley made ten (monetary and in-kind) contributions totaling $1,911.31 to Fletcher’s older brother, Harold Fletcher, Jr., in his campaign for state senate
  • Harley has also contributed a total of $2,000 to the Republican Party of Kentucky, and $1,925 to Mitch McConnell

Take a look:

Harley Contributions Screengrab

CLICK HERE to view details of all of Harley’s contributions. (Warning: PDF link)

There you have it. Yet another controversial appointment.

Is this what we’ve come to expect in Kentucky? Is this what we’re left with? Pony up the cash and you’re appointed to office. That’s the way the wind blows these days. welcome to the ongoing saga of political appointments of the Fletcher Administration.

Steve Henry Presidential After All?

Henry - Thompson

He is if you compare him to potential candidate and Republican actor Fred Thompson. An FEC complaint has been filed against Thompson alleging he has raised far more than necessary to “test the waters.”

Note that it’s illegal to keep substantial amounts of money from the exploratory phase for use in an actual campaign. It’s also illegal for candidates “exploring” a race to refer to themselves as candidates.

Non-Partisan Group Turns Up the Heat

Saturday, non-partisan group Change for Kentucky hosted houseparties all across the state. Their purpose? To introduce individuals not typically political to the slate of Steve Beshear and Daniel Mongiardo.

The gatherings, while not organized with raising funds in mind, turned up several low-dollar donations. According to the group’s leader, Mike Bailey, “these new donors will now follow the news, pay more attention to campaign commercials, and discuss the campaign with their friends because they’ve invested themselves.” This new-ish strategy of direct campaigning and raising unitemized contributions has become key to developing a strong grassroots base.

We may be wrong, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen the other side of the aisle try to motivate voters on such a personal level. Perhaps all parties and candidates should take note in order to begin making politics about the people they’re meant to represent.