Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): KS Senate Candidates File Finance Reports

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

KS Senate Candidates File Finance Reports

Campaign financing is my least favorite part of elections. Asking for money is awful. I never want to owe anyone anything, so I feel truly sorry for candidates who aren’t wealthy and who are born with that, that, thing that makes asking for favors or money abhorrent. (Hi friends!)

Looking at the campaign finance reports, I think I have an idea who some of those people are. I’ll let you figure it out. The reports are here. Below -- that’s just my opinion on some of the fundraising for Senate races. I’ll check out House races tomorrow.

Incumbents have so many advantages in fundraising. Most started with massive war chests--even great non-incumbent fundraising candidates have an impossible time catching up. Dinah Sykes, challenging Sen. Greg Smith,  raised a healthy $31,000. Perhaps the most interesting contributor is LeEtta Felter, an Olathe school board member who calls herself a conservative. I think someone’s put her cards out on the table. (Perhaps this explains why Sykes was so dramatic about people campaigning for Smith in Sen. Jerry Moran shirts.)  Sykes isn’t the conservative in the race--not even close. That would be Sen. Greg Smith. Smith only raised $12,000 during this reporting period, but he started with $36,000 on hand.

Out west, one race I’m closely watching--and by closely watching, I mean I’m reading the Hutchinson News, so what little I know may be completely inaccurate and even false--is the Sen. Terry Bruce race. He faces challenger Ed Berger. Bruce raised $22,000 in this reporting period. His opponent raised $61,000 during this reporting period. Now, I’m #TeamBruce, but Berger’s report is impressive. If you were going to craft the perfect campaign finance report, Berger’s is it. The vast majority of the cash comes in donations of $100 to $1,000 from individuals who live within the district. There are few PACs, and I don’t think he loaned his campaign cash. (He did donate $1,000 to his own campaign.)

I’ve written briefly about the ongoing battle for Senate leadership. Bruce and Sen. Susan Wagle are in a bitter fight to be Senate President. They have dogs in other races hoping to have the votes when the next Legislature convenes to take the chamber’s top job. It’s a moot point if one (or both) fails to win their races. Wagle, who doesn’t have a primary opponent, started her campaign with $310,000 on hand. That is insane. It shouldn’t cost that much to run a campaign in Wichita. She spent about $50,000 this reporting period, the majority of it, almost $30,000 went to polling. Um… whoever knows how those polls shook out, I’d be interested in hearing (gidget.southway@gmail.com) about it.

Some candidates loaned their campaigns crazy amounts of money.  Sen. Jeff Melcher loaned his campaign $130,000. He’s only spent $30,000, and he had raised enough money to cover that, so I am scratching my head.His opponent, John Skubal, raised $31,000. I hope Melcher’s got big plans for that cash--something certain to get his campaign over the top, but I can’t even imagine what that would be. He’s spent $20,000 on TV spots this primary season. I saw them, and I barely watch commercial television, so they had some reach. From where I’m standing--clear out in the poor part of Johnson County--that race looks close. Here’s hoping voters do the right thing and choose Melcher.

Melcher isn’t the only candidate to loan his campaign crazy dollars. Tom Holland, Democrat, also once loaned his campaign $100,000.He raised about $4,000. Paid himself back, and then loaned his campaign another $70,000. What am I missing here? Guys, does it cost that much to run a campaign in Kansas? It’s baffling.  His Republican opponent, Echo Van Meteren, wife of Singularis’ Kris Van Meteren, raised $11,000. (She loaned herself $5,000).

10 comments:

  1. As to the Bruce/ Berger race. As I mentioned before, most people that I know, including very strong conservatives, feel very ignored and alienated from Terry Bruce. I personally have emailed him several occasions over the past few years, I have never once even gotten an acknowledgment back from him. His outreach to the district, or lack thereof, has not improved much during the campaign either. I looked at Berger's donor list and it is full of RINOs and many people who I know are liberal democrats who are NOT republicans. Berger is well liked in Hutch, but he is a liberal....And as far as I'm concerned, is corrupt. Bruce's campaign should request all records from the City's Sports Arena project where he steered the awarding of the architecture contract. He could also focus on how HCC has raised the commmunity's mil levy under Berger's leadership. Hopefully Bruce's campaign is running better in the outlying areas where he's typically stronger. I've already voted for Bruce, but only because he the lesser of two evils....and he really doesn't deserve to win again.

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