Three Republicans loaned massive sums to their Kansas gubernatorial campaigns and a pair of late arrivals reported impressive contribution totals in the first campaign-finance disclosures by the field angling to replace Gov. Sam Brownback.
Wichita businessman Wink Hartman loaned his GOP operation $1.65 million, while 2010 Republican nominee Jim Barnett loaned $505,000 to his campaign and State Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer loaned $285,000 to his own cause.
Hartman said the campaign in 2018 should be about electing savvy leadership rather than someone invested in special interests.
“I got into this race not owing anyone any favors, and when we win, I’ll answer to the voters, not the big donors,” he said. “We’ll bring conservative business solutions to the Statehouse, not a list of policies sold to the highest bidder.”
Hartman led the pack in total contributions, but Barnett reported amassing $564,000 to Selzer’s $713,000. Republican Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer raised $630,000.
Reports of campaign transactions were due midnight Wednesday, but Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s summary had yet to be posted to the website of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission or the secretary of state’s office.
Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat aligned with former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, submitted a report showing $155,000 in contributions in just 17 days of fundraising activity. That was more than the combined totals of two prominent rivals — former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and House Minority Leader Jim Ward, also of Wichita.
“I’m grateful to all the folks who took time during the holidays to support this campaign,” Kelly said. “We have been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received so far.”
Other totals among Democrats: Josh Svaty, of Ellsworth, $195,000; Ward, $90,500; and Brewer, $45,400. Lansing physician Arden Anderson reported $25,600 in contributions — all but a few hundred dollars donated by himself.
Independent candidate Greg Orman, a Fairway resident who ran for U.S. Senate in 2014, reported donations of $452,000 despite launching a bid 26 days before end of the reporting period Dec. 31. The cash came from individuals in 35 states and is indicative of interest in an independent political movement, said Tim Owens, a former Republican state senator serving as Orman’s treasurer.
“It’s clear to me that Greg’s relationships with business leaders throughout Kansas and across the country will be a great asset in attracting jobs and revenue when he’s elected governor,” Owens said.
Berryton independent candidate Richard Kloos had the most jaw-dropping report among two-dozen people in the race. He reported donations of $6,000, but disclosed spending $81,000. He’s in the hole for $74,000.
Wichita businessman Mark Hutton generated nearly $580,000 in contributions. Nine of 10 donors were from Kansas.
“This is proof positive that Mark Hutton is a tier-one candidate with the support and resources to win this race,” said George Bruce, the treasurer for Hutton.
Ed O’Malley, who started campaigning in October, raised $223,000 from 600 different donors. Many have never donated to a campaign before, he said.
“We keep testing Kansans’ interest in my type of a candidacy,” he said. “We asked everyday Kansans late in the year to support this campaign financially. And they have.”