Traditionally. campaigns for a November general election don’t really kick off until Labor Day.  However, there doesn’t seem to be much “traditional” about politics these days and because it’s now just three months until Nov. 6th, let’s peek at the governor’s race between Republican Kay Ivey and Democrat Walt Maddox.

Unlike in many elections, voters will have a clear choice between Ivey and Maddox.  Age being the most obvious difference.  On the one hand, Ivey looks like everyone’s kindly grandmother, while Maddox is in his mid-40s and seeks to portray a more vigorous, energetic image.

From the outset Ivey has been the hands on favorite.  After all, she dispatched her primary opponents with little problem.  However, some recent polls are showing the race tightening, though Ivey maintains a comfortable lead.

A good barometer for most campaigns in to check on fund-razing.  While Ivey, like any incumbent, has the advantage in collecting contributions, the just-released financial reports for July for both candidates gives validity to the contention that the race is becoming more competitive.

“Major” donations are considered those of $20,000 or more.  These are to be reported to the Secretary of State immediately upon receipt.  As to be expected, Ivey has done much better than Maddox in tapping such donors.  She has raised about $700,000 from more than 20 major donors, while Maddox only lists two (and one of these is a $50,000 contribution from himself).

Somewhat surprisingly, both were essentially head to head in money raised the last month.  Ivey got $248,523 while Maddox got $245,024.  And Maddox is slightly ahead with cash on hand.  He shows a balance of $313,248 as compared to Ivey’s 271,476.

It’s their approach to fund-raising that is worth noting.  In July, Maddox had more than 550 individual donors, while Ivey had less than 80.  This was not an anomaly as Maddox had nearly 900 contributors in June and May, compared to about 260 for Ivey.  The governor has far more political action committee (PAC) contributions than Maddox does.

I’ve always said that big money invests and little money gives.  Meaning simply that a check for $5,000 includes little more than that while a check for $100 may include a substantial commitment of time in contacting neighbors, writing postcards or knocking on doors.

No doubt the smart money remains on Ivey, but Maddox is certainly proving that he is not to be taken lightly.