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Grassroots or big checks: Campaign heating up for Yarmuth's seat, here's how candidates are doing on fundraising

State Senator Morgan McGarvey filed as an official candidate after the third quarter wrapped up, so his campaign doesn't have any published financial data yet.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Candidates running to replace Congressman John Yarmuth, who announced Tuesday he plans to retire after this term, have already raised almost a quarter-million dollars with 7 months left to go before the primary election.

Friday was the deadline for Congressional candidates to submit their quarterly financial reports for the third quarter. 

State Rep. Attica Scott, who announced her candidacy for Kentucky's Third Congressional seat, reported raising $70,832.

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According to Scott's campaign, she had 926 contributions. 

The average contribution was $76.51.

Two-thirds of the people donating lived in Kentucky. 

"So far it's a grassroots campaign," said Dewey Clayton, a political science professor at the University of Louisville. "She's getting small donations from a lot of people at the ground level."

State Senator Morgan McGarvey filed as an official candidate just this week.

That was after the third quarter wrapped up so his campaign doesn't have any published financial documents on the Federal Election Commission website.

McGarvey tweeted Wednesday he already raised $160,000. 

A McGarvey campaign spokesman said the majority of the money came from in-state donors who made contributions of all sizes. 

"That's pretty incredible," Clayton said. "It clearly shows that if nothing more he probably will immediately have the mantle of front-runner status."

Clayton said now that Yarmuth isn't running again, he expects this race to start getting some national attention. 

"If it does, I expect to start seeing national money starting to flow in," Clayton said. 

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While grassroots efforts can be helpful to campaigns, Clayton said at the end of the day, candidates raising the most money often do better on Election Day. 

"Given how politics is run today, money is important," Clayton said. "Money allows you to get your message out to the people. Money allows you — when your opponents run ads or put statements out about you — it allows you in essence to refute those statements."

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