By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News
Incumbent Gov. Kay Ivey has a comfortable lead in recent polling ahead of the May 24 primary, but her GOP challengers have continued to raise significant funds this month, including a massive loan from the primarily self-funded candidate.
Lindy Blanchard late last week loaned her campaign $1.6 million, bringing her available funds at the time to just more than $3 million.
Blanchard, the former ambassador to Slovenia under President Donald Trump, previously loaned her campaign $5 million in December and $2.8 million in January. She’s touted her ability to self-fund her campaign, rather than rely on political contributions, as an advantage in the race.
Last fall, Inside Alabama Politics reported that the self-funder was prepared to spend $10 million of her own money running for office, which at that time was the U.S. Senate. She had loaned her Senate campaign $5 million but returned it when she ended that campaign in December and pivoted to the governor’s race. She’s now standing at $9.4 million with 28 days to go until the primary election.
State law allows candidates to repay self loans with campaign contributions, so in theory Blanchard could pay herself back if suddenly she were getting big donations.
While Blanchard has the most cash on hand, currently, Ivey has taken in some significant contributions this month and has $2.7 million on hand, according to the latest information on the Alabama Secretary of State’s site.
Candidates have to report separately donations over $20,000 and Ivey’s listed eight totaling just more than $1 million. The largest of those, $750,000, coming from a D.C.-based organization called “Get Families Back to Work.”
James had a half dozen major contributions totaling $250,000 and has about $877,000 on hand. The largest single donation was $100,000 from Greenville attorney Warren Williamson.
Ivey has some other numbers in her favor. Alabama Daily News reported last week that a recent internal poll showed Ivey leading with 57% of likely Republican voters. Fourteen percent said they would choose Blanchard and 12% would vote for bridge developer Tim James. Just 12% of voters remain undecided in the race, according to the poll.
Campaigns’ April spending details will be available next week when monthly campaign reports are due.
In all, candidates in the 2022 gubernatorial race have raised $20.5 million and spent $13.5 million.