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Kelly Craft during a campaign stop in Elizabethtown, Ky.
Kelly Craft during a campaign stop in Elizabethtown, Ky., on April 12, 2023.Timothy D. Easley / AP file

GOP primary for Kentucky governor tops $10 million in ads

The top spender, former U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft's campaign, has spent over $5 million alone.


Ad spending in the Kentucky Republican primary for governor has already topped $10 million, with the election less than two weeks away.

The top spender, according to ad-tracking firm AdImpact, is former U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft's campaign, which has spent $5.3 million.

The next two leading spenders are two outside groups: Bluegrass Freedom Action, a group supporting state Attorney General Daniel Cameron's campaign, and Commonwealth PAC, a group opposing Cameron. The winner of the primary will go on to face Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear in November.

Commonwealth has repeatedly run ads painting Cameron as soft on crime, including one ad tying him to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is prosecuting charges against former President Donald Trump in New York.

Bluegrass Freedom Action has fired back at Craft, calling her "ultra-rich" and "desperate" for running attack ads against Cameron.

A new ad out from the group this week also highlights Cameron's endorsement from Trump, featuring a clip of the former president telling viewers, "Daniel has my complete and total endorsement."

Cameron's campaign itself has spent almost $569,000, while two other candidates -- state Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles and attorney Eric Deters -- have spent $338,000 and $206,000, respectively.

Beshear, the Democratic incumbent, has built broad popularity as governor in a deep-red state, after winning election in 2019 by just 0.4 percentage points over then-GOP Gov. Matt Bevin.