Shell Takes Early Fundraising Lead in GOP Ag Commish Primary

Former state Rep. Jonathan Shell has taken an early fundraising lead in the Republican primary for Agriculture Commissioner, as his opponent has started the campaign with a personal loan.

Shell raised $52,126 in the first months of the campaign, including a $10,000 loan the candidate made to his campaign account. He’s only spent $727 in donation-related fees leaving him with $51,398 in cash-on-hand with more than a year before the May 16, 2023, Republican primary.

Shell jumped into the race at the end of August after current state Rep. Richard Heath, R-Mayfield, announced his candidacy for the seat. Heath announced he would be seeking the open-seat at a Mayfield community event in early August.

Heath has not raised any funds for the statewide election outside of a $10,000 personal loan to his campaign. A campaign finance report with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance shows that he has also not spent from the campaign.

The Graves County Republican will also have to defend his right flank as he seeks to hold his seat in the state House next year. Kentucky Fried Politics first reported Republican Kimberly Holloway, of Mayfield, filed to challenge Heath, of Mayfield. Heath, who has held the 2nd District House seat since 2012. The district includes all of Graves and part of McCracken County.

Heath ran for Agriculture Commissioner in 2015 and lost to current Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles in the Republican primary.