- Associated Press - Friday, October 31, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said Friday he plans to set up a charitable organization to use leftover campaign funds for different projects, including perhaps for foster children and restoration of the Governor’s Mansion.

Bentley did something similar with his inaugural fund in 2011. He raised $1.6 million in donations to pay for it and had more than $300,000 left. He donated that to the state General Fund to support state agencies during a lean budget year.

As of Friday, Bentley reported raising $6.76 million in donations for his campaign and had $779,076 on hand. But his campaign owed $500,000 to Bentley for a loan he made to the campaign last week.

Bentley said he loaned the money for a get-out-the-vote effort if it is needed, but it may not be spent. Bentley acknowledged that under state law, having a debt on his campaign financial records will allow him to raise money after Tuesday’s election.

Most politicians use leftover campaign funds to start building their campaign chest for their next election or to donate to the campaigns of other politicians who are loyal to them. But if the 71-year-old governor wins Tuesday, state law will prohibit him from seeking a third consecutive term in 2018.

“If I have money left over, it’s going to go back to help the state,” he told reporters at the Capitol.

Bentley faces Democrat Parker Griffith in Tuesday’s general election. Griffith’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment about what he would do if he had leftover campaign funds. As of Friday, his campaign had raised nearly $669,000 in contributions and had $56,068 left after expenditures. The campaign also owed the former congressman $517,000 for loans he made to his campaign.

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