Kansas Campaign Finance Reports: Christie Allies For Kansan?

The campaign finance reports for Kansas candidates have been filed with the secretary of state’s office and the Government Ethics Commission since Monday and much focus has been on Gov. Sam Brownback (R) using a $500,000 loan from Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) to push him above Democratic gubernatorial nominee Paul Davis in the latest fundraising. This is the second time a loan from Colyer has boosted Brownback’s fundraising totals.

The reports from legislative candidates across the state, including several in competitive primaries next week, show competitive races and other tidbits. Here’s a look.

Christie Friends Like Kansan?

Are allies of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) getting involved in Republican primaries in Kansas? Likely not.

Rep. Stephanie Clayton (R-Overland Park) reports a $500 contribution from the Morris County Republican Committee of Morristown, N.J., the home county of Christie, a former Morris County freeholder director.

Clayton, who did receive a $500 donation from the Morris County Republican Committee in Council Grove, Ks., said that the report is likely a typo made by her campaign treasurer. The Morris County, Ks. donation came as the county GOP sought to spend down a donation made to the party by Rep. Tom Moxley (R-Council Grove) that was over the contribution limit, the Wichita Eagle reported. The party sent $500 checks to Clayton and other moderates, the Eagle reported. Clayton said the Morris County check did not include an address.

While the New Jersey county, a GOP stronghold, is not seeking to take over Kansas, they do dominate Google search results for “Morris County Republican Committee,” including the committee’s address just blocks from the Morristown Green.

The reports showed that Clayton easily outraised her conservative primary challenger, Jennifer Flood. Clayton reported raising $19,960 in her latest report and has $22,471 cash on hand. Flood reported raising $6,085 in her report and reported $3,363 on hand. The reports do not indicate funds spent by outside groups.

Christie, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, is scheduled to visit Kansas next month to appear with Brownback at a $25,000 a head RGA fundraiser in Mission Hills. The invitation to the RGA event was originally reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Dem’s Been With Republican For A While

State Sen. Laura Kelly (D-Topeka) donated $100 to Republican Fred Patton’s GOP primary bid against Rep. Josh Powell (R-Topeka) on January 9. Kelly had announced on Facebook in May that she’d be taking an active role in campaigning for Patton, saying she supported moderates. Powell, who was first elected in 2012, is considered one of the more conservative members of the state House. In May, Patton told The Celock Report that he was “surprised” by Kelly’s support.

Koch or Kock?

The Koch brothers illicit strong reactions around the country. Many in Kansas cite the economic strength of Koch Industries, while others praise the family’s donations to medical research and the arts. Others though vocally oppose the Kochs and their contributions to conservative political causes.

For one Kansas candidate though, he has an entirely different view. Randy Powell, a Republican who is seeking a seat in the Kansas City suburbs, posted a $500 contribution from Kock Industries of Wichita on his latest campaign filing.

Incumbent Dominates Competitive Race Money War

Rep. Barbara Bollier (R-Mission Hills) has a commanding lead in the money war in the final week before facing off with Neil Melton in the GOP primary for her Johnson County seat. Bollier, a leading moderate Republican, is being challenged by Melton, a conservative, in a primary that is a continuation of the civil war between moderate and conservative Republicans in Kansas.

Bollier’s campaign finance report shows that she has $27,227 cash on hand while Melton’s shows that he has $5,500 on hand. The reports do not include the money spent by outside groups on behalf of either candidate. Conservative state legislative candidates like Melton were heavily assisted by outside groups in the 2012 Republican primaries in an effort to defeat moderate GOP lawmakers.

Worked for Bloomberg

Republican Thomas Bell is trying the self-funding strategy in his bid to unseat Rep. Diana Dierks (R-Salina) in next week’s primary. Two-thirds of Bell’s $30,955 haul came in the form of two $10,000 loans that Bell has given his campaign. Bell, a conservative, is the former editor and publisher of the Salina Journal and now a top official at the local hospital.

Dierks, a moderate local realtor, reported raising $6,570 during the latest filing period, bringing her total to $15,746. Dierks reported having $5,824 on hand while Bell reported $18,864 on hand. Among Dierks’ contributors was the Kansas National Education Association.

Self-finacing through loans isn’t that uncommon in Kansas or Salina. In addition to Colyer’s loan to Brownback, state Rep. J.R. Claeys (R-Salina) reports outstanding personal loans to his 2012 campaign totaling $20,000. Claeys lent his unsuccessful 2010 GOP primary campaign for secretary of state $300,000.

Open Seat Competitive In Fundraising

The race to succeed retiring Rep. Emily Perry (D-Mission) in suburban Johnson County is competitive in the first fundraising report. The reports show that Republican Brandon Hermreck has $36 more on hand than Democrat Jarrod Ousley, but the Democrat reported raising more.

Ousley reported raising $6,697 and has $5,942 on hand, while Hermreck reported raising $6,194 and has $5,978 on hand. While Ousley reported spending more directly from his campaign, Hermreck reported loaning his campaign $244.49 to cover various expenses.