Beshear also topped Cameron in financial support in expensive race

Published 10:19 am Tuesday, December 5, 2023

This month’s governor’s race was among the most expensive in Kentucky history.

On Nov. 7, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear won reelection against Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Beshear earned 53% of the votes to Cameron’s 47%, a gap of approximately 67,000 votes, according to the Kentucky State Board of Elections.

It was a very expensive race.

Beshear and Cameron’s campaigns and outside groups spent over $75 million combined, according to an OpenSecrets analysis.

Beshear had a head start from the outset after Cameron nearly emptied his campaign chest in a competitive Republican primary.

From July 17, two months after the primary, to 60 days before the election, Beshear raised $17.3 million, according to Kentucky Registry of Election Finance data.

Cameron raised about a sixth of that amount – $2.8 million.

Throughout the rest of the race, until 15 days before the election, Beshear amassed another $2.3 million, while Cameron gathered $1 million.

Both campaigns were supported by several political action committees, organizations that raise money privately from individual donors.

Beshear received $198,450 from PACs, including:

  • Humana;
  • Eli Lilly and Co. PAC;
  • United Mine Workers;
  • United Steel Workers;
  • UAW;
  • Kentucky Workers Association PAC;
  • American Works State and Local PAC;
  • Better Schools Kentucky;
  • Democratic Action PAC;
  • KDA Bourbon Trail PAC;
  • Kentucky Solar Industries Association PAC; and
  • Duke Energy Corporation PAC.

Cameron received about half of that – $100,900 – from PACs including:

  • Kentucky Rural Broadband PAC;
  • Houchens PAC;
  • Citizens for Affordable Healthcare;
  • Bluegrass Committee;
  • Charter Schools PAC;
  • Rand Paul’s PAC;
  • Brett Guthrie’s PAC; and
  • Kentucky Circuit Court Clerks PAC.

However, Cameron was bolstered by outside groups that advertised on his behalf.

Groups including School Freedom Fund, the Republican Governor’s Association-connected Kentucky Values, Bluegrass Freedom Action, Protect Freedom and Club for Growth Action spent over $19.4 million on radio and television ads in support of Cameron, according to Medium Buying.

Outside groups didn’t contribute quite as much to Beshear’s advertising.

Preserve, Protect and Defend, Defending Bluegrass Values and Black Voters Matter Action PAC collectively spent $14.7 million on pro-Beshear ads.

Beshear’s greatest campaign contributor was the Kentucky Democratic Party, which devoted $3 million to the race.

Cameron’s was the Republican Party of Kentucky, which provided $700,000 to his campaign.