Democrat Laura Kelly has outraised Republican Kris Kobach by more than $900,000 since the end of July and has half a million dollars available to spend in the final week of the campaign. Kobach has $61,000 left.
Kelly’s fundraising advantage comes as polls indicate a tight race ahead of the Nov. 6 election. Kelly, a Topeka state senator, seeks to become the first Democrat elected Kansas governor since 2006.
Kobach, the secretary of state, enjoys the support of President Donald Trump, who has traveled to the state to campaign for him. But a recent Wichita fundraiser headlined by Vice President Mike Pence was not enough to match Kelly’s money.
“Since day one, the support and enthusiasm for this campaign has been overwhelming,” Kelly said in a statement, adding that Kansas residents of “all political stripes have a home in our campaign to rebuild our state.”
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The Kobach campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Kobach’s running mate – Wichita businessman Wink Hartman – in the past has been a large source of campaign cash, giving or loaning more than $1.5 million to Kobach in the run-up to the August primary election.
Hartman has continued to loan money, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday. This fall, Hartman has loaned an additional $621,350 to the campaign.
Kobach hasn’t given any money to the campaign during the general election season, but the campaign has paid him nearly $35,000 in reimbursements since late July. Hartman has not been reimbursed during that time.
Kelly’s campaign hasn’t paid either Kelly or Rogers.
In total, Kobach has raised $1,384,640 since late July, with Hartman’s loan representing close to half of the amount. Kelly has raised $2,304,249 with $15 coming from her or her running mate, Sen. Lynn Rogers.
Kelly’s campaign has also spent significantly more than Kobach. From July 27 through Oct. 25, Kelly spent $2 million while Kobach spent $1.3 million.
Kelly’s campaign is in a good place financially, said Patrick Miller, a political scientist at the University of Kansas. She has raised enough money to run a credible campaign and get her message out, he said.
But he cautioned that is difficult to correlate campaign spending with election outcomes.
“I think people often have this perception that money often directly translates to votes and that you can buy an election, when money helps but it can’t buy the election, generally. Money’s not going to buy you marketability and a good message,” Miller said.
Independent Greg Orman, who has consistently polled third in the race with support hovering around 10 percent, has spent nearly all of his campaign funds. He has $14,759 left.
Since late July, Orman has collected $805,351, with $580,000 of that coming from Orman. During the same period, he spent $1.2 million.
Orman, who has not purchased TV air time in the final stretch of the campaign, has fended off questions over whether he planned to continue campaigning. Orman is advertising online and on the radio.
Other key races
Secretary of state
Republican Scott Schwab
Contributions since July 27: $151,155 (includes $1,000 loan from Schwab)
Spending since July 27: $134,189
Cash on hand: $35,829
Democrat Brian McClendon
Contributions since July 27: $674,736 (includes $200,000 loan from McClendon)
Spending since July 27: $658,808
Cash on hand: $192,104
Republican Vicki Schmidt
Contributions since July 27: $230,330 (includes $5,000 loan from Schmidt)
Spending since July 27: $166,143
Cash on hand: $102,425
Democrat Nathaniel McLaughlin
Contributions since July 27: $3,755 (includes $2,693 in loans and contributions from McLaughlin)
Spending since July 27: $2,661
Cash on hand: $1,153
Republican Derek Schmidt
Contributions since July 27: $138,613
Spending since July 27: $218,162
Cash on hand: $323,622
Democrat Sarah Swain
Contributions since July 27: $20,225 (includes $2,000 donation from Swain)
Spending since July 27: $12,266
Cash on hand: $9,015
Republican Jake LaTurner
Contributions since July 27: $95,220
Spending since July 27: $146,583
Cash on hand: $44,782
Democrat Marci Francisco
Contributions since July 27: $28,270
Spending since July 27: $33,275
Cash on hand: $3,059