Tuesday, July 18, 2000

Bush raises more money than Gore in Kentucky

The Associated Press

        Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush has raised just over $900,000 from Kentuckians, more than four times the amount contributed to Democratic rival Al Gore.

        Republicans say the disparity shows the depth of Mr. Bush's support and shallowness of backing for Mr. Gore, who has raised just over $200,000.

        “People don't contribute to candidates they don't think are going to win,” said Ted Jackson of Louisville, a Republican activist and consultant.

        Democrats say there's no connection between fund raising and voting.

        “This race has yet to be run,” said Louisville businessman Charlie Owen, Mr. Gore's Kentucky chairman.

        Mr. Owen acknowledged

        that Mr. Gore had fallen short in the money race in Kentucky, where his campaign had hoped to collect $400,000 at a single fund-raiser in Louisville last October. Three months earlier, Mr. Bush raised about $700,000 at a Louisville event.

        After the conventions, the candidates will be financed with taxpayer funds, but their parties will continue to raise and spend money. Mr. Owen said some of the people who were supposed to give to Mr. Gore's campaign are giving to the Democratic Party, which is already spending heavily to boost Mr. Gore with so-called “issue ads” that don't count against spending or contribution limits because they don't expressly advocate his election.

        In the race to raise money for their parties, Mr. Bush also has outdistanced Mr. Gore in Kentucky. A fund-raiser last month headlined by Mr. Bush raised $1 million for the state party and $700,000 for the national party, according to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, Mr. Bush's state chairman.

        Mr. Gore has held no such events in Kentucky, apparently because Gov. Paul Patton has a higher priority — raising money for the Democrats' efforts to regain control of the state Senate in the November elections — and also is raising money for congressional candidates and the Democratic Governors Association, of which he is chairman.

        “Sometimes I'm not certain he doesn't have too many dogs in too many hunts,” said Lexington lawyer-lobbyist Terry McBrayer, Kentucky's Democratic national committeeman. But he said the main reason for the disparity is that “the rich are for George Bush.”

        Asked whether he detects a lack of enthusiasm for Mr. Gore in Kentucky, Mr. McBrayer said, “I don't see any enthusiasm for either of them.”

        Mr. McBrayer is a former state Democratic chairman. The job is now held by the governor's daughter, Nicki Patton. She said her father has met his national fund-raising responsibilities and shouldn't be blamed for Mr. Gore's shortfall.

        Some of Mr. Patton's leading contributors, such as top Kentucky road contractor Leonard Lawson, have given to Mr. Bush and Mr. Gore. Mr. Bush also got money from regular givers to Mr. McConnell, U.S. Rep. Anne Northup of Louisville and other Kentucky Republicans in Congress.

        He also got big boosts from Bush family friend Will Farish, a Midway horse breeder, and people associated with Brown-Forman Corp. of Louisville. People associated with Brown-Forman and the Brown family gave Mr. Bush at least $58,900, almost as much as he got from his two largest categories of contributors, lawyers and real-estate interests.

        People in the horse industry gave Mr. Bush at least $38,000, while Mr. Gore got $250 from the trade.


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