12 things to know about the May 19 gubernatorial primary

  • Campaigns and outside groups active in Kentucky’s governor’s race have raised at least $12.8 million — about one-third of the $36 million wagered on the Kentucky Derby earlier this month.
  • Ahead of Tuesday’s primary, candidates and their boosters have produced $4 million worth of TV ads, more than double the money spent on TV ads for neighboring Tennessee's entire 2014 gubernatorial election.
  • Kentucky voters have already been subjected to more than 13,800 TV ads leading up to Tuesday’s gubernatorial primary — a quarter of which were bought by independent groups.
  • Call it a rich man’s race? Every GOP candidate in Kentucky’s gubernatorial primary is the top funder of his own campaign: Heiner $4.2 million; Bevin $1.75 million; Comer $95,000; Scott $198,000.
  • Fueled by his own millions, Heiner — a commercial real estate developer and former legislator — put up his first campaign ad for this race nearly a year ago.
  • GOP candidate Heiner is also getting a boost from two groups — one political action committee, one nonprofit — that bashed his opponents with $330,000 in TV ads.
  • A PAC run by Heiner’s former campaign manager is attacking Heiner's opponents in Kentucky’s GOP primary. Its top backers are wealthy Kentuckian Ward Correll and his son Jess.
  • Citizens for a Sound Government, a nonprofit that does not disclose its donors, has paid for $240,000 in ads attacking Heiner’s opponents. The group also gave $120,000 to another group boosting Heiner.
  • Colorado-based Citizens for a Sound Government used the same playbook in the Nebraska governor’s GOP primary last year.
  • Outside money has boosted Comer’s camp, too. A group funded by coal executive Joseph Craft and businessman Terry Stephens has spent $550,000 on ads touting him for Kentucky governor.
  • If Tuesday’s GOP primary winner beats the Democratic nominee in November, he would be only the fourth Republican to occupy the Kentucky governor’s mansion since 1931.
  • Kentucky’s race is one of only three gubernatorial primaries in 2015. Mississippi’s primary is Aug. 4. Louisiana’s is Oct. 24.