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Kentucky Donors Give Little to Donald Trump

Donald Trump
Trump campaign
Donald Trump

Kentucky Republicans made Donald Trump their party’s choice for president in March. But when it comes to funding his campaign, Kentuckians are letting him cover the tab.

Through May 31, he received only $43,861 in individual contributions, not even half the amount given to Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Two months after winning the Kentucky Republican caucus, Trump was outraised in the state by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, $12,166 to $11,376.

Trump’s dismal showing in Kentucky reflects his fundraising troubles nationally. Trump received only $3.1 million in individual contributions in May and had cash on hand of only $1.3 million by month’s end, according to his latest campaign finance disclosures. Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, raised $26 million last month, giving her a new balance of $42 million.

Meanwhile, for the first time in the 2016 election cycle, Kentuckians have given more money to Democratic candidates for president than to Republicans. Through May 31, Democratic candidates for president received $1.31 million from Kentuckians, 3.1 percent greater than the $1.27 million given to Republicans.

Democrats took the lead last month with a burst of giving to Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Clinton led the surge with $167,264 in contributions, her biggest monthly intake yet. Contributions to Sanders tailed off at $58,666 in May, but he still raised more money than all Republicans combined.

Kentucky State Rep. Sannie Overly, chairwoman of the Kentucky Democratic Party, said Democrats are stepping up their giving because of the “bad moves” made by Republicans like Gov. Matt Bevin.

“The fact that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters have given about $1.2 million and Trump supporters have donated only $43,000 shows that Democrats have a lot of momentum going into this November,” Overly said in an e-mailed response.

Tres Watson, spokesman for the Kentucky Republican Party, shrugged off the low individual giving and said Trump will carry the state nonetheless.

“The RPK and Republican National Committee continue to raise significant funds and will have more than enough financial resources to win races up and down the ballot this fall,” he said.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul remains the top recipient among Republicans with $367,924, although he dropped out of the race in February.

Alexandra Kanik contributed to this report. Reporter James McNair can be reached at jmcnair@kycir.org and (502) 814.6543.