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Gov. Ivey now tops pack in fundraising despite having yet to announce her campaign

By Chip Brownlee
Alabama Political Reporter

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has accepted more than $1 million in donations and major contributions to her gubernatorial campaign committee, leading the pack of announced candidates despite having not yet officially announced her campaign.

Ivey has only been fundraising since Aug. 25 when she filed paperwork organizing her campaign committee. But in the near-two weeks that she has been fundraising, she has already brought in $1,000,200 — thanks in large part to major individual contributions.

“Gov. Ivey is thankful for the overwhelming amount of support her possible campaign for a full term has garnered and will make her decision regarding the 2018 campaign known soon,” Ivey’s Communications Director Josh Pendergrass.

Ivey now beats out her closest competitor in terms of fundraising — Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle — by more than $100,000. Battle, who has been traveling the state and fundraising since early June, has about $868,000 in his war chest. He raised $180,000 in August after raising more than $680,000 between June and July.

The major contributors to Ivey’s campaign so far have been Alabama business magnates, real estate developers and PACs, including Great Southern Wood owner and longtime Republican donor Jimmy Rane, who contributed $50,000 and $100,000 from Huntsville developer Louis Breland.

She has also received $50,000 from a PAC headed by lobbyist Ted Hosp representing Maynard, Cooper & Gale law firm and $40,000 from BizPac, another PAC chaired by Clark Richardson.

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Nearly all of the individual contributions Ivey’s campaign listed on her monthly filing, which she reported yesterday, ranged between $1,000 and $15,000. Two of the more than 40 contributions reported were less than $1,000. She reported raising $320,200 on her monthly report, which did not include the major contributions that are filed separately.

In the last two weeks, Ivey filed the campaign finance paperwork needed to run for a full-term next year, according to documents filed with the Secretary of State’s Office.

Ivey filed the paperwork with the Secretary of State’s Office Friday, Aug. 18. The paperwork, which establishes a campaign committee, all but confirms that Ivey will run for re-election. APR reported last month that Ivey had decided to seek a full term, according to several high ranking lawmakers who were approached by her camp.

The governor is expected to announce publicly within the month if she will seek a full term. But all signs, including her meteoric fundraising numbers, point to an affirmative decision.

Despite the near confirmation, she has repeatedly denied commenting on whether she would seek re-election, citing her desire to “steady the ship of state” before deciding if she would run for a full term.

Over the last month, several candidates — including Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and Public Service Commissioner Twinkle Cavanaugh — who had filed to run for Governor or were considering it changed their candidacy to other offices or said they would not seek the post, essentially moving over for Ivey to run.

Even with many of the potential candidates clearing the path for her, Ivey will still face a crowded field of Republican candidates if she chooses to move ahead with her campaign. Battle, Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan and Sen. Bill Hightower have all announced their intentions to run, and all three have large amounts of cash on hand after fundraising and campaigning across the state over the summer.

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On the Democratic side, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb, who has said she will run, and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox have been fundraising as well. Cobb has raised a total of $132,000 after adding $47,000 to her war chest in August.

Maddox, who hasn’t made a final decision on whether he will run, has raised $30,000 after adding $24,000 in August. He also loaned his campaign $50,000.

Three other Democratic candidates who have filed for a campaign committee have not yet raised any money.

The other Republican candidates have all raised between $4,000 and $300,000. Birmingham evangelist preacher Scott Dawson raised $32,000 in August, bringing his total to $308,000 while Jefferson County Commissioner David Carrington raised $23,000 in August, bringing his total to $269,000.

Agriculture Commissioner John McMillan raised $9,000 in August and now has a total of $81,000 in his war chest on top of a $50,000 loan he made to his campaign.

Birmingham businessman Joshua Jones and state corrections officer Stacy George, a former Republican candidate who ran against former Gov. Robert Bentley in 2014, have raised $37,000 and $4,000, respectively.

Though Hightower did not have a report for August, he has raised more than $480,000 so far, according to his most recent filing on the Secretary’s database.

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Republican party candidates qualification will begin Jan. 8 and end Feb. 9.

The primary for the Republican nomination is set for June 5, 2018.

Chip Brownlee is a former political reporter, online content manager and webmaster at the Alabama Political Reporter. He is now a reporter at The Trace, a non-profit newsroom covering guns in America.

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