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Rothenburger trails opponent in cash race

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Good support from Shelby; governor’s race draws support

By Todd Martin

Shelby Countians have been very active on the political scene for the statewide primary elections coming up in May.

With the filing deadline passing earlier this week, the candidates will no doubt start hitting the trail even harder to raise money and generate votes.

So far it's no surprise that the bulk of the county's donations have gone to Rob Rothenburger, who is a Republican candidate for commissioner of agriculture candidate and Shelby County’s current judge-executive.

Nearly all of the $21,875 Rothenburger has raised has come from Shelby County residents.

"Shelby County has been very supportive of me, not only monetarily but in every way imaginable," Rothenburger said. "You never know until you ask, but we've been very, very pleased with Shelby County."

However, Rothenburger's main Republican competition, state Rep. James Coomer (R-Tompkinsville), has been more active, raising $103,330, most coming from his native south central Kentucky area.

But Coomer also has found his way out into the state, earning several donations from cities in the vicinity of Shelby County, including Frankfort, Louisville, Oldham County and even a $250 donation from Simpsonville.

With Coomer's connections through being a representative, he has been able to get out in the state a little faster, but Rothenburger said he's going to start getting out soon.

"We're going to start reaching out more," Rothenburger said. "He might have a few more resources, but I feel pretty good about where we are right now. And we have a pretty good support system out there too, with firefighters, EMS and Emergency Management. Plus, being a judge-executive, I run into a lot of other judges, too."

In the gubernatorial race, candidates have started to come through Shelby County, combining to raise nearly $10,000 here.

Incumbent Democrat Steve Beshear upped his total of cash on hand to $2.4 million with fourth-quarter donations of a little more than $450,000.

Of that money, almost $5,000 came from Shelby County. Beshear has so far been the most successful gubernatorial candidate in Shelby County.

Beshear's campaign can also start to focus their attention to November, because  he found out this week he will run unopposed in the May primary. Beshear is running with former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.

His main contributors overall have been state employees, and that's held true in Shelby County as well, with employees of the commonwealth donating more than half of Shelby's total.

Senate President David Williams (R-Burksville), made a strong push to raise funds in the fourth quarter, picking up just more than $647,000 over the final three months of 2010.

With total expenditures of a little more than $111,000, that total put Williams' cash-on-hand at about $641,000, but his totals also include a $100,000 loan he made to his campaign in September.

Williams, running with current Commissioner of Agriculture Richie Farmer, picked up almost $4,000 in Shelby County, with the bulk of that coming from three $1,000 donations, one each from Hoppy and Jane Bennett and one from Karen Sparrow.

Williams will have to start putting that money to use quickly, because he will face competition in May against Tea Party candidate Phil Moffett, a Louisville businessman.

Though Moffett's staff has been outspoken, calling Williams' record into account, he and his runningmate, State Rep. Mike Harmon (R-Danville), have raised almost $55,000, with $30,000 coming from Harmon himself. As of Jan. 20, however, Moffett had about $9,000 remaining on-hand.

Independent candidate Gatewood Galbraith lags behind the top candidates with just over $106,000 raised. Galbraith doesn't have to worry about the primary, but, as an independent, he has focused on November.

His campaign already has spent more than $105,000 of it's total. And more than $70,000 of that total came from Galbraith's own pocket.