Politics & Government

Campaign finance: Estes outraises Thompson as special election approaches

Republican Ron Estes has outraised Democrat James Thompson as the two congressional campaigns seek votes ahead of the April 11 special election.

Estes has raised $282,881 while Thompson has raised $253,637, according to new filings with the Federal Election Commission. The commission showed no records for Libertarian candidate Chris Rockhold.

The documents, posted Thursday and Friday on the FEC website, also give insight into how the campaigns are spending money.

The Estes campaign recorded $202,133 in net operating expenditures, while the Thompson campaign recorded $144,390.

Spending highlights

From the Estes campaign:

▪ $49,000 to Smart Media Group for a media buy. The company is a “media planning, buying and communications agency,” according to its website. Its clients include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Education Association and the Dallas Cowboys, among others.

▪ $282 for meals at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C. The Republican club traces its roots to the 1950s.

▪ $1,598 to The Singularis Group for yard signs. The firm, based in Shawnee Mission, works in political messaging.

From the Thompson campaign:

▪ Nearly $70,000 collectively to the Ad Astra Group, a political firm. Ad Astra Group was co-organized by Levi Henry and Casey Yingling, both Thompson supporters. Yingling is also the secretary of the Kansas Democratic Party.

▪ $15,000 collectively to Lincoln Park Strategies, a research firm. The company conducts polling for Thompson.

▪ $250 to ABLS Salon for “hair for photo shoot.” Thompson campaign manager Colin Curtis said Thompson’s family had their hair done before a photo shoot, and that the candidate doesn’t get $250 haircuts.

According to the reports, the Estes campaign had $110,099 cash on hand. The Thompson campaign has $107,346 cash on hand.

Curtis emphasized the number of small donations to the Thompson campaign. The campaign said its median donation amount is $25.

“We’re a grassroots-funded campaign,” Curtis said.

A spokesman for Estes’ campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Estes and Thompson are vying for Kansas’ 4th Congressional District seat, which was vacated when Mike Pompeo resigned to become CIA director. No campaign finance report was available for a third candidate, Libertarian Chris Rockhold.

Jonathan Shorman: 785-296-3006, @jonshorman