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Amount Represents a 40% Increase Over 1998

The following report was released by the National Institute on Money in State Politics, a nonpartisan, nonprofit program dedicated to accurate, comprehensive and unbiased documentation and research on campaign finance at the state level. The Institute is an outgrowth of collaboration between the Western States Center, the Northeast Citizen Action Resource Center, and Democracy South.

FOR RELEASE: July 9, 2001
CONTACT: Sue O'Connell, 406-449-2480

HELENA, Mont. - Candidates for legislative offices in Kentucky raised $8.8 million in the last election cycle, a 40 percent increase over the $6.3 million that legislative candidates raised in the 1998 election cycle, a preliminary review of campaign contributions shows.

House candidates raised about $3.5 million, while Senate candidates raised $5.3 million, data compiled by the National Institute on Money in State Politics shows.

The average amount raised by House candidates increased by nearly 33 percent, from $17,283 in 1998 to $22,870 last year, while the average raised by Senate candidates more than doubled, from $51,822 in 1998 to $107,602 in 2000, the Institute's review shows.

The Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that compiles and analyzes campaign contribution information for state-level races across the country. It built its Kentucky database from campaign finance reports filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. The Institute's preliminary contribution records for Kentucky's 2000 races are available online and currently can be searched by candidate and by contributor.

The Institute's preliminary review of the data showed:

· Candidates who lost their general election races raised, on average, just 77 percent of the amount winning candidates raised. Winning House candidates raised an average of $26,307, compared with the average $20,255 raised by their opponents. Senate winners raised an average of $168,594, while their opponents raised $129,415.

· House incumbents raised on average $24,765, while their challengers raised 65 percent of that amount, or $16,148. Senate incumbents raised, on average, $133,043, while their opponents raised just over half of that amount - $89,772. Candidates for open seats accumulated much higher campaign chests in both houses, with House candidates raising an average or $27,251 and Senate candidates an average of $296,117.

· The top two fundraisers in the Senate were battling for the open District 31 seat. Democrat Ray Jones II, raised $636,947 and won the seat, while his Republican opponent, Chris Ratliff, raised $424,244. Johnny Ray Turner raised the next-highest amount of money in his successful challenge for the District 29 seat - $285,807, including $73,400 of his own money.

· The percentage of Senate candidates raising more than $100,000 increased from 15 percent in 1998 to 55 percent in 2000, with 23 of 42 candidates raising more than $100,000 in the last election cycle.

· The top two fundraisers in the House were Republican Larry Clark, who raised $140,605 and retained his House District 46 seat, and Democrat W. Keith Hall, who won the open District 93 seat and raised $120,650, which included $85,200 of his own money.

· Of the 119 winning candidates, 102 were incumbents, representing 86 percent of the candidates. In addition, 108 of the 119 - or 91 percent - had raised the most money in their races. Overall, 115 were either incumbents or had raised the most money, representing 97 percent. In fact, every one of the Senate winners had the advantage of either money or incumbency.

"Basically, these figures show you don't win unless you can raise a lot of money or you raised a lot in the last election," said Samantha Sanchez, Institute co-director. "Newcomers to politics face a real uphill battle."

Preliminary analysis shows that political party groups were the leading contributors to the 2000 elections, with the Kentucky State Democratic Executive Committee contributing $1,035,426 to legislative races and the Kentucky State Republican Executive Committee giving $677,440. Several candidates also gave significantly to their own campaigns. In addition to Turner and Hall, the following candidates were among the top contributors: Republican Ben Fletcher, who lost his bid for the Senate District 3 seat, $96,904; Glenn Freeman, a Democratic incumbent who lost the Senate District 17 primary, $69,000; and Daniel Mongiardo, who defeated Freeman in the primary and then won the general election, $66,000.

Also showing up among top contributors were: Kentucky Educators PAC, $100,000; Kentucky Realtors PAC, $72,500; Kentucky Educational Medical PAC, $69,950; and Optometric PAC, $63,905

The Institute will be doing further in-depth analysis of all major contributors to identify their occupations and employers. When that analysis is complete, the information may be searched by candidate, contributor and the type of economic and political interests contributing to state-level campaigns. Currently, the Institute's Web site contains searchable contribution data that identifies the economic interests of contributors in Kentucky's 1994, 1996, and 1998 legislative elections and the 1999 statewide elections.

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