Making Democracy Work

Money Matters: An Update from the Money In Politics Committee

The next two PDF links compile money data on getting and spending money by candidates on the ballots in Jefferson County in 2016. So what do these numbers say?

  • Well, it seems that for a large majority of citizens running for office, even local office, is very likely not an option unless he/she has formidable patrons (donors).

  • If they do run on a shoestring, even being even a contender is highly unlikely without sufficient funds to create name recognition.

Just focusing on State Representative Races, we see that of 18 metro area state representative races 7 were uncontested in "safe" districts for the party in power. The only race where an incumbent was unseated was district 38 where Denver Butler had changed his political party.

Local incumbents generally raised more money for their campaigns and they won 8 of 9 contested races. In 2 races there was no incumbent.

About $10.2 million was spent on the general election by the Republican and Democratic parties for 50 State Representatives races according to KY Registry of Elections. That averages out to about $100,000 per candidate per race.

And an open question: Do office holders generally serve the interests of their big donors?

Federal Candidates

State Candidates

-Submitted by Barb Kelty, George Schuhmann and Gary Drehmel, MIP Chair