As 2017 fundraising numbers for the 2018 Kansas Governor’s race are released, it is an interesting data point and the first one we’ve had in
awhile, but KU political scientist Patrick Miller cautions us not to forget how far we still have to go.
“Most money in campaigns comes in the election year,” said Miller. “It comes close to primaries and after primaries. The vast majority of
money that would be spent in this race is still out there. It’s still to come.”
A lot of that money will never be on a campaign finance report of any kind.
“The model for the biggest donors in politics is increasingly to spend money through dark money outside organizations that will never show up
on these reports, rather than to give to parties or candidates,” Miller said.
Quite a few Republican candidates are putting their own money where their campaigns are.
“There definitely are some big self-funders here,” said Miller. “You look at Wink Hartman, for example, a very wealthy Republican businessman,
quite conservative, raised a little over $1.8 million. Almost $1.7 million of that was self-funded, in one way or another. You look at Mark
Hutton, a former state representative, raising $582,000. About $200,000 of that was self-funded. Jim Barnett, one of the moderate Republicans,
probably towards the right of the moderate spectrum, former state senator from Emporia, the 2006 nominee for Governor on the Republican side,
raised $565,000, $505,000 of which was self-funded. One other is Ken Selzer, the insurance commissioner. It’s interesting. No one’s been
talking about Hutton and Selzer. I think expectations for them were quite low, but they beat those expectations. They stood out. Selzer raised
$714,000, of which $286,000 was a loan to himself. So, at least four candidates are on the Republican side with some pretty substantial self-
The one person who did not self-fund who most people thought might is the current Lt. Governor.
“He raised $632,000,” said Miller. “From going through his report quickly, I don’t believe any of that came from himself,” said Miller. “He’s
interesting in that regard.”
Colyer has spent money on his campaigns with current Governor Sam Brownback, loaning those campaigns $1.5 million in 2013 and 2014.