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GOP nominee has more to spend

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2nd Congressional District

By John Friedlein

By JOHN FRIEDLEIN

jfriedlein@thenewsenterprise.com

Republican candidate Brett Guthrie has amassed a war chest that far exceeds his opponent’s in the race for the Kentucky’s open 2nd Congressional District seat.

Guthrie said he has raised more than $700,000 since Jan. 29. Democrat David Boswell, on the other hand, has roughly $50,000 available for the campaign.

A Guthrie campaign spokesman would not say how much the candidate already has spent, but he did say the state senator from Bowling Green has been “frugal.”

More details will come out later this month when the Federal Election Commission releases candidate financial information from May 1 through Monday.

Part of the gap in funds is explained by that Boswell faced opposition in the May primary and Guthrie did not.

Boswell, a state senator from Owensboro, raised about $200,000, but spent almost all of it against fellow Daviess County politician, Reid Haire.

Campaigning in the 2nd District is expensive because it covers several television markets.

Democrat Mike Weaver, who challenged 14-year incumbent Ron Lewis in 2006, cited the incumbent’s fundraising advantage — and the TV ads it paid for — as the major reason Lewis won.

Weaver raised about $900,000 in the U.S. House race, compared to Lewis’ $1.7 million.

Guthrie’s money lead may get him on the airwaves earlier. A recent memo from the Guthrie campaign to supporters said: “Television advertising in congressional campaigns traditionally begins after Labor Day, and Brett Guthrie is in a financial position to be on the air long before his opponent.”

Boswell said he also plans to run TV ads.

To pay for them, Boswell is planning fundraisers across the district, including an event in Elizabethtown, along with “traditional telephone work,” he said.

Boswell said he will raise enough money for the campaign.

As a long-time legislator and former state agriculture commissioner, he said he has a name-recognition advantage over Guthrie. And Boswell has won the support of education groups and unions — which not only will help him raise money, but also give him a network of foot soldiers.

As of the last FEC report, Boswell’s top two contributors were unions: International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and United Steelworkers, according to the Web site OpenSecrets. org.

Guthrie’s top contributors were two Bowling Green businesses: Trace Die Cast, which is his family business, and Houchens Industries.

With the next FEC report, “you’ll see a lot broader group of support,” Guthrie said.

More donations will be from individuals as the campaign has built networks and conducted fundraisers throughout the district.

A breakdown by ZIP codes not surprisingly shows each candidate raising the most money from his respective hometown.

John Friedlein can be reached at (270) 505-1746.