Kansans pour money into presidential election – but not how you might think

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Americans have given more than $710 million to presidential candidates, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Kansans have gotten into the big-money game as well, donating more than $1.8 million directly to candidates and hundreds of millions more through PACs and Super PACs. That’s according to the most recent data available, which covers January 2015 through March 31 of this year.

This election-finance season is unusual in that the presumptive Republican nominee, billionaire Donald Trump, has raised and spent very little. Trump raised less in Kansas than in many more liberal states.

The candidate who has been railing against money in politics, Bernie Sanders, has raised the most money of all nationally.

One of Kansas’ most famous political donors, Charles Koch, is not among the donors this year so far. Koch voiced dismay with the rhetoric of the presidential contest in April and even said that Hillary Clinton might make a better president than the Republican contenders.

Here’s a look at presidential giving in Kansas.

Kansans give relatively little

Kansans had not given much money to the presidential campaigns through March. Individuals had donated about $1.8 million in total, or about 50 cents per person in the state.

That’s less than the $2.4 million given at this point in the 2012 campaign. Although each person has given less, on average, more people are giving: Nearly twice as many Kansans gave money in this election cycle than in 2012.

Kansas ranks in the bottom 10 in the country, along with such states as South Dakota, Kentucky, North Dakota and West Virginia.

States donating the least per person


Amount donated per person







South Dakota










North Dakota


West Virginia


Part of the reason Kansans give so little is that they earn less money on average than in other states. When you control for income, Kansans rank 35th rather than 43rd.

Washington, D.C., donates the most, by far, at more than $8 per person. Vermont has donated the next most, at $3.51 per person, in part because of Sanders.

States donating the most per person


Amount donated per person

Washington, D.C.






New York





Only a small percentage of Kansans donate to presidential candidates, and they don’t donate very much.

Fewer than 4,000 Kansans – or about one in every thousand Kansas residents – made donations to individual candidates.

The most common amount given was $50, which happened more than 3,000 times. About two-thirds of all donations were $50 or less.

The average donor gave money to their candidate five times. The most common amount given in total was $250.

Only about 200 individual donations were over $1,000. Twice that number of people gave more than $1,000 in total.

Republican givers

Kansas donates to the same party it tends to vote for in national elections by an even wider margin. Republican presidential candidates received about 60 percent of Kansas votes in recent elections and a slightly greater percentage of total donations.

A time line of the donations that Kansans have given to Republican dropouts is as messy as the campaign itself. Jeb Bush received some significant early money but then disappeared. Marco Rubio received some of the highest donations this year.

But the two who did well most consistently were the most evangelical and conservative candidates: Ben Carson and Ted Cruz.

Carson received more than $350,000 in Kansas, about 20 percent of the Kansas total. Nationally, he received less than 10 percent of total donations.

Cruz started a little slower but ended up doing better. He collected about 23 percent of total donations in Kansas, more than twice what he received nationally. Cruz continued to dominate fundraising after he won the Kansas caucus on March 5.

Trump raised very little money in Kansas. Nationally, he takes in about 7 percent of all donations. But in Kansas, he took in less than $18,000, or less than 1 percent, of all donations.

Least of all

Bobby Jindal received only one donation, $250 from Earl Schulte, a Republican donor in Hutchinson. Schulte loves competition so much that he has given money to three Republican candidates each election for the past 30 years. He thought Jindal had integrity.

“My dad always said put your money where your mouth is,” Schulte said. “If you really believe what is going on, you vote with your money or you stop and give up your right to have a choice.”

Schulte donated early last summer when his candidate, Trump, wasn’t yet in the race. Schulte said that if Trump asks for money in the general election, he may send it.

“I don’t really want to support PACs,” Schulte said. “I don’t mind supporting an individual candidate, but I don’t like becoming a big pot of money. It’s a little socialistic.”

Clinton vs. Sanders

Sanders won the battle for convention delegates in Kansas and is winning the battle for money in this year. But because of her early success, Clinton has still outraised Sanders in Kansas.

This is the opposite of nationally, where Sanders has out-raised Clinton by a smidge.

The Sanders campaign has touted that it tends to draw more donors who give smaller amounts, implying that he draws from a less-wealthy demographic.

This basically holds true in Kansas. Sanders had twice as many total donors in Kansas as Clinton, more than 1,000 for Sanders compared to fewer than 500 for Clinton.

Sometimes Sanders has made a claim that his average donation is around $27.

It’s actually $48 in Kansas, and the average donor gave Sanders money six times. Clinton donors averaged about $172 per donation and donated about four times.

The ordinary Sanders donor (the median donor) has given about $200 in total. This is still the lowest of any candidate. Clinton’s typical donor gives about $300.

Both Clinton and Sanders raised about 25 percent less overall in Kansas than in other parts of the country.

Clinton’s supporters gave during three surges: in April 2015 when she announced her campaign, in July and in the month before the first debate in late September.

Sanders’ donors, in contrast, have only this year begun to support him at the same level as Clinton, especially in the month leading up to the Kansas caucus and the month after.

Where people give the most

This map shows which ZIP codes in Kansas have donated the most money this election season.

As would be expected, the cities with the most people and the most money have given the most money. Two ZIP codes in Leawood gave the most money overall, a total of about $100,000.

But it looks different when you control for population size.

66211, a ZIP code near Overland Park that includes parts of Leawood, was the second-most-generous in the state, with more than $24 per person. Bruce and Gina Hollis gave more than $10,000 between them to Carson. James and Dana Bartimus, an attorney and his wife; Jeffrey Dobbs, a business consultant; and John and Trudy Jacobson, owners of Transam Trucker, all gave the $2,700 maximum to Hilary Clinton.

In 67573, a tiny ZIP code northwest of Hutchinson, two fervent donors racked up one of the highest donations per person in the state. Cynthia Parsell, a bus driver in USD 401, gave between $25 and $250 to Cruz 15 times. Anita Sheridan, who owns Ellinwood Tank Service, gave to Cruz 40 times, in amounts as small as $5 and $10. They donated more than $2,000 in total.

Joe Smith was the only person in his tiny ZIP code in southeastern Kansas near Independence to give money: $500 to Cruz. He later began to regret his decision when he realized that Cruz wasn’t electable. “Evidently (my neighbors) didn’t give enough,” Smith said. “They left it all on me.”

“A lot of times I support a little bit, but this year I thought, ‘Man, we can’t have Hillary in the White House,’” Smith said.

You can hover over the map below to see how much money your ZIP code gave per person.

Although areas with more people and more money tended to give more, the relationship wasn’t very strong. Some ZIP codes with few people gave a lot, and some ZIP codes with lots of people gave very little.

Top givers

The top donors in Kansas all came from cities or suburbs of cities and gave to Republicans, except for one IRS agent from Kansas City who supported Sanders.

Most of the donors said they were involved in investing or financial services, some were spouses who maximized their household contributions by donating separately, and one said he was a welder. Based on their voting records, almost all of them were over 60.

Top donors in Kansas



Listed profession



Martin A. Blake


Financial advisor for Northwestern Mutual



Bonnie Siegel


ASE Group



Matthew Siegel


Commodity trader for Matthew A. Siegle and Co.



Gina Hollis


Owner of Englewoodbeachhouse.com



Ronald Nolan


Self-employed investor



David P. Landwehr


Salesman for LT Care Solutions Inc.



Adam Endicott


Welder for Unique Metal Fabrications



Rosann Rahn


Clerk for the IRS

Kansas City


Phyllis Nolan


Self-employed real estate investor



Data sources: FEC,US Census

Oliver Morrison: 316-268-6499, @ORMorrison