For the first time this election season, Kentuckians gave more in a single month to Republican nominee for president Donald Trump than to his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
The GOP candidate raised $75,387 in June from individual Kentucky donors, according to new data from the Federal Election Commission. The former U.S. secretary of state raised $73,153 during the same time period.
The June haul represents a major shift for Trump, whose meager Kentucky fundraising had trailed behind all other major Republican candidates, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. In each of the first four months of the year, Trump never raised more than $9,000.
But in June Trump more than doubled his total pull from the commonwealth. He has raised a total of $130,049 since March 2015 in the state, while Clinton has garnered $783,046.
University of Kentucky political science professor Donald Gross said people can expect the trend of bigger donations for Trump to continue. The uptick could be attributed to the bump candidates typically see after a convention, but Gross said it could also mean Republican donors are feeling more confident and unified behind their nominee.
“If you think he has a chance to win, you start freeing up your money,” Gross said. “Some of those big money people, they’re looking for, you know, sort of the cues to start opening their wallets.”
Clinton in June raked in more than six times as many individual donations as Trump. But the New York businessman’s donors gave much more per donation.
Clinton’s campaign received a total of 1,440 donations averaging $51 each from Kentuckians in June. She received eight donations of $1,000 or more. Trump’s campaign received 226 donations averaging about $334 each, and got 30 donations of $1,000 or more.
Democrat Bernie Sanders and independent Gary Johnson were the only candidates other than Clinton and Trump to raise money in Kentucky last month. The senator from Vermont raised $21,334 from 775 individual donations, averaging $28 each. June was Sanders’ lowest fundraising month in the state since December.
Sanders never officially dropped out of the race, but said in late June that he would vote for Clinton, and officially endorsed her July 12.
Johnson received two donations totaling $1,500. Overall, Kentuckians have donated more than $2.75 million to presidential candidates since March 2015 — $1.4 million to Democrats and $1.35 to Republicans.
Will Wright, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting's summer fellow, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (724) 344.6945.