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Many believe that campaign contributions can an indicator of who will win an election. If so, then Senator John McCain would be the clear choice for Spencer County voters.
According to statistics kept by the Federal Election Commission, supporters of McCain have outpaced contributors four to one in Spencer County over Senator Barack Obama. Of the $1,660 in total individual contributions, residents gave $1,310 to McCain and $350 to Obama.
Spencer County Republican Party Chair Lynn Hesselbrock said she’s not surprised to see more support for McCain.
“I think Obama threw in the towel for Kentucky long ago,” said Hesselbrock.
Ruth Campanella, Spencer County Democratic Party chair, said she’s also not surprised by the statistic especially, “when we are talking about two (Democratic contributors) versus four (Republican contributors).”
When the amount given to political parties and candidates in other races is factored in – local contributions to republican causes jump to $3,925. The total amount of individuals donating to democratic causes in Spencer County this election cycle is $800.
“I think there is money here, but maybe not the interest,” said Hesselbrock, who attributed the low amount of local donations to several factors. “Maybe they have seen that money is not well spent, or maybe they are just burned out.”
Still, Hesselbrock’s organization has been able to give $500 to every republican candidate – from coroner to president – listed on local ballots this year.
“Five hundred dollars can make a big difference, especially in local races,” said Hesselbrock.
Unlike the county’s Republican Party, Campanella said her organization has been helping out Democratic candidates by manning the phones and making sure campaign literature gets out to voters.
“It’s a tough time to be making any kind of contribution to anything,” said Campanella.
When compared to neighboring counties, Spencer Countians differ in both who they chose to give their money to and by how much. Individual contributors in Bullitt County have donated nearly $6,500 to the Obama campaign, while only $1,852 to McCain. The Sentinel-News recently reported that over $18,000 has been received by the Obama campaign from Shelby County residents, compared to just over $12,000 for McCain.
The trend toward giving to Obama continues on the state level with the democratic candidate collecting nearly twice as much from Kentuckians with $2 million. As of mid-October, the Federal Election Commission states that Obama has received $639.2 million nationally, compared to McCain with $335.3 million.
“It certainly does require a lot of money to run a campaign,” said Campanella, “but your message is also very important.”
Hesselbrock said she thought it was unfortunate that the candidate with the most money wins.
“Money buys advertising and advertising gets you name recognition,” said Hesselbrock.
Net receipts of Republican Brett Guthrie, candidate for U.S. Senate-District 2, are $1.1 million according the the Federal Election Commission. Opponent Democrat David Boswell has net receipts of $675,000.
In the race for U.S. Senator, incumbent Mitch McConnell-R posts $14 million in net receipts, while challenger Bruce Lunsford-D has $7.7 million.