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Heiner drops $4M on governor's race; Comer 'won't be intimidated'

by Joe Arnold


Posted on July 7, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Updated Monday, Jul 7 at 5:54 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- How much does Hal Heiner want to be Kentucky governor?
Enough for the Louisville real estate developer to commit 5 or 6 days a week traveling the state for the last four months -- 8000 miles and counting since March.

And enough to write his campaign a $4 million check.

After initially investing $200,000 to get the Heiner-Crosbie campaign off the ground, the former Louisville Metro Councilman has now upped the ante considerably, contributing $4 million more of his personal fortune to the Heiner-Crosbie campaign.

The ticket reports $4,380,770 raised year to date and $3,906,642 cash on hand.

Individual contributors to Heiner's campaign include Somerset banker Jess Correll, Papa John's founder John Schnatter, University of Kentucky Trustee Bill Britton, former Mitch McConnell state director Larry Cox and homebuilders Don and Mira Ball.

Heiner's likely opponent in the 2015 primary, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, told WHAS11 on Monday he "won't be intimidated by a multi-millionaire from Louisville."

"You can't buy the governor's race," Comer said, adding "it's not who has the most money, but whether you have enough."

"It is going to take a political outsider to bring much needed changes to Frankfort," said Heiner campaign manager Joe Burgan.  "Hal's success in job attraction and growing a business makes him ideal for the job of Governor.  It is obvious that Hal is deeply committed to public service, and believes that the future of Kentucky is worth investing in."

The 2011 Republican ticket of David Williams and Richie Farmer raised $2.6M for their entire campaign.

The last time Kentucky had an open seat for governor, in 2003, Republican Ernie Fletcher raised $2.1 Million for his primary campaign. 

Democrat Jack Conway is the only other candidate to officially enter the governor's race.  His second quarter fundraising numbers are expected to be released Tuesday morning.

Democratic insiders tell WHAS11 that Conway is expected to report a record fundraising total from individual donors.