Candidate for governor Adam Edelen gets $1 million boost from running mate Gill Holland
Tom Loftus, Louisville Courier Journal
FRANKFORT – Gill Holland, the Louisville businessman running for lieutenant governor on the Democratic ticket headed by Adam Edelen, has loaned another $1 million to their campaign.
That brings the amount Holland has loaned to the campaign to nearly $2.5 million —about 73% of the $3.4 million in total receipts the campaign has reported, according to a filing this week with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.
Holland made the additional $1 million loan on April 26, according to the new report, which discloses the campaign’s fundraising and spending for April 21 to May 6.
In addition, Holland’s mother-in-law, Christina Brown of Louisville, has made another $500,000 donation to a super PAC supporting Edelen’s election as governor.
A report filed this week by the PAC, Kentuckians for a Better Future, shows on April 26 it received the half-million-dollar contribution from Brown.
That brings to $1 million the amount Brown — an heir of the family that founded Brown-Forman — has given to Kentuckians for a Better Future. Brown’s contributions total 85% of the $1.18 million the super PAC raised through May 6.
The financial backing of Holland and Brown give Edelen a huge fundraising edge over his two main rivals — Attorney General Andy Beshear and House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins — in the May 21 primary.
Combined, Holland and Brown provided nearly $3.5 million, or 76% of the combined total of about $4.6 million in receipts so far to the Edelen campaign and super PAC.
That compares to $1.64 million that the Adkins campaign has reported raising, and the $2.16 million the Beshear campaign has reported raising, through May 6.
So far, no super PAC has spent money to support the election of Beshear or Adkins.
In response to questions about the big financial backing of Holland and Brown, the Edelen campaign on Tuesday released a statement from Holland emphasizing his business career of investing in Kentucky communities and artists.
“Other times I invest in ideas,” Holland said. “I’m proud that we’re running a campaign of real ideas to bring about a modern Kentucky where every citizen has the opportunity to succeed in the community they call home.”
But Eric Hyers, campaign manager for Beshear, said, “Adam Edelen’s running mate and his family are trying to buy this election while shielding themselves from transparency.”
The transparency comment, Hyers said, is a reference to Beshear and his running mate Jacqueline Coleman releasing their tax returns, but Edelen not releasing his 2018 tax return or Holland releasing any tax returns. Edelen’s campaign says the reason he hasn’t released the 2018 return is because he filed for an extension to his tax preparation, and the return isn’t completed yet. He has released his 2017 return.
Adkins said in a statement, “Kentuckians deserve a candidate who will work hard to earn their respect, their trust, and their vote … I’ve been on the ground and in the trenches every day of this campaign and during my service in the General Assembly. I will win this election the right way — face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball, shoe-leather on the ground.”
A candidate’s campaign fund is banned by law from accepting a contribution of more than $2,000 per election. But that limit does not apply to a candidate giving, or loaning, money to his own campaign. And it is not unusual for a wealthy candidate to do so.
For instance, in the Republican primary for governor this year, state Rep. Robert Goforth has loaned $750,000 for his campaign against incumbent Matt Bevin. And in 2015, Bevin largely financed his own campaign, loaning more than $4 million to his primary and general election committees combined.
The law puts no limit on how much a person or organization can give to a super PAC, which spends the money it raises on independent advertising to support the election of the candidate of its choice.
Kentuckians for a Better Future recently began airing attack ads that criticized the sources of contributions supporting Beshear’s 2015 election as attorney general.