A Kansas independent candidate for governor reported nearly $75,000 in debt last week – a figure the campaign now says was in error.
Richard Kloos, a Topeka pastor, has spent more than $81,000 on his bid for governor. That’s more than some established candidates in the race.
Meanwhile, Kloos collected just $6,525 in donations, leaving negative cash-on-hand of almost $75,000.
He spent more than $26,000 on office space, and $6,000 on office remodeling. He also regularly spent on fast food and supplies for parades – as well as $110 on a Kansas political map.
Those expenses might not be unusual for a high-octane campaign, but it wasn’t immediately apparent from the report how Kloos paid for his purchases.
In an interview on Tuesday, Kloos said his report was accurate, but he also said he had loaned his campaign money.
“What we were hearing from people as we began to gather signatures was that until we really got on the ballot, a lot of people really weren’t in the mode of wanting to give financially,” Kloos said. “So I just had to kind of had to determine – basically, I took out of my retirement to fund my campaign, to loan the campaign the money knowing that, ‘Hey, if this flops, I’m going to lose this money.’”
"I really believe in the message and the cause of what I’m doing."
Kloos gathered more than 8,000 signatures and is now on the November ballot.
Kloos’ son, Michael Kloos, called soon after the interview to say the report should have been filed differently to make clear Kloos was self-paying many of the expenses.
"You did us a service in helping us figure that out," Michael Kloos said. "Definitely new to the track of the race, but we’re passionate about it as a family and definitely believe in the cause for a better Kansas."
Mark Skoglund, director of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, said Kloos’ report represented an error his office sees frequently. Campaigns are asked to file amendments to address the errors, he said.
Kloos has flown under the radar as a candidate. The attention paid to him pales in comparison to the other independent in the race, Greg Orman.
Yet Kloos spent more than former state senator James Barnett and businessman Ed O’Malley, both running as Republicans. He also spent far more than Democrat Carl Brewer, who spent about $31,000.
Kloos has not run for office before. He is pastor of Zealous Church in Topeka, and his running mate is his son Nathaniel Kloos.
His campaign focuses on making Kansas attractive to graduates. He also calls for “fair distribution” of funds among school districts.
In 2009, he and his wife, Pennie, started a thrift store in Topeka called God’s Storehouse that employs about 30.
Contributing: Hunter Woodall of the Kansas City Star