Democrat Raj Goyle continued to lengthen his fundraising lead over five Republicans competing for the 4th District congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Todd Tiahrt.
Goyle, a state representative from Wichita, raised almost $253,000 in the fourth quarter of last year, three times as much as any of his GOP rivals, according to Federal Election Commission quarterly reports obtained Monday.
In the crowded Republican field, businessman Wink Hartman edged GOP National Committeeman Mike Pompeo in fundraising in the fourth quarter. But having gotten a later start to his campaign, Hartman continued to trail Pompeo in overall campaign cash and cash on hand.
State Sens. Dick Kelsey, R-Goddard, and Jean Schodorf, R-Wichita, are continuing to primarily fund their own campaigns. New finance reports for candidate Jim Anderson were not available Monday.
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Ken Ciboski, a Republican professor of political science at Wichita State University, said Goyle's ability to raise funds makes him a substantial challenger in a district that would otherwise be safely Republican red.
"He's going to wage one formidable campaign," Ciboski said. "It's not going to be a shoo-in for the Republican. It's going to be a tough race, whoever wins on the Republican side."
WSU political science professor Mel Kahn, a Democrat, said Goyle has the advantage of being able to stockpile campaign money while Republicans vie for an edge in their primary. Goyle's only potential primary opponent is Robert Tillman, a retired court services officer who has announced a run but has yet to organize a campaign.
But Kahn said Republicans will likely draw as much money as they need in the general election.
"I just think money is going to be cascading toward whoever the Republican is," he said.
Kahn said Pompeo, specifically, appears to have plenty of wealthy supporters and corporate connections that could rebuild his campaign funds after an expensive primary.
Kelsey also may have plenty of support, though through dedicated organizers, Kahn said.
Ciboski cautioned not to discount Hartman, an oil executive with a long business history in Wichita — including partnerships in prominent restaurant ventures and ownership of the Wichita Wild indoor football team and Hartman Arena, where it plays its home games.
And Ciboski said Schodorf could also draw votes out of proportion to her fundraising because she's the only woman and the only moderate in the race.
He said he knows of some Democrats who are reregistering this year to vote in the GOP primary for Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Hays, who is opposing Tiahrt in the race for an open Senate seat where the Democrats haven't fielded a strong candidate.
Those voters might stick around and pick Schodorf down the ballot, he said.
"I think this primary's going to be a real donnybrook," Ciboski said.
As of Jan. 1, Goyle led everyone, with cash on hand of $583,000. Since announcing his candidacy in July, he's raised $656,000.
Pompeo, raising $78,524 in the fourth quarter, reported cash on hand of nearly $319,000. Overall, he's raised about $430,000 during the race.
Hartman slightly outraised Pompeo in the fourth quarter with $78,985. But, having started in September, about five months later than Pompeo, Hartman's total contributions stood at $102,000 — less than a fourth of Pompeo's — and Hartman had far less cash on hand, about $64,000.
Kelsey finished the year with slightly more than $40,000 cash in hand. He has raised about $27,000 — including about $11,000 in the fourth quarter — and has lent his campaign $222,500 of his own money.
Schodorf, who like Hartman started campaigning late, raised $5,800 in the fourth quarter. Her total amount raised for the campaign stood at $7,856 and she lent her campaign $22,000, giving her slightly more than $25,000 cash on hand at the end of the year.