Monday, July 24, 2006

Kansas Politics: Religious right gets swamped in fund raising for statewide offices

By Diane Silver

A first, very quick look at the campaign finance reports filed today in Kansas shows that the most conservative candidates appear to be falling far behind in the race to raise money for the campaigns for governor, attorney general and secretary of state.

This is VERY interesting news. The reports for the state Board of Education don't seem to be up yet, though, so stay tuned for further developments.

All of the reports are for the period of Jan. 1, 2006 to July 20, 2006.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has swamped her GOP opposition in the fund-raising derby. A moderate Democrat who lured the former state GOP chair to be her running mate, Sebelius raised $1.09 million during the reporting period. She reports having $2.05 million cash on hand.

None of the Republican candidates for governor even came close.

Jim Barnett and his ultra-ultra-conservative running mate, Susan Wagle, brought in $237,503 during the period and ended with $194,213 cash on hand.

Ken Canfield, another alleged darling of the right, brought in $196,233 and ended the period with only $6,536 cash on hand.

Robin Jennison, a former Kansas Speaker of the House, brought in $112,680 and had $156,394 cash on hand.

The other GOP candidates for governor didn't come anywhere close to these totals.

In the attorney general race, Republican Phill Kline, much beloved of the far right, raised $314,506 and had $418.491 in cash on hand.

Democrat Paul Morrison out-raised Kline easily, bringing in $659,653 during the reporting period and ending with $764,839 cash on hand.

In the race for the Republican nomination for secretary of state, state Sen. Kay O'Connor -- famed for questioning whether women should have the right to vote -- raised a whopping $32,638. She ended the reporting period with $4,465 cash on hand.

Her opponent in the Republican primary, moderate incumbent Ron Thornburgh raised $70,235 and ended with $46,834 on hand.

This is only a quick first look, and I didn't have time to take in the details. I could well have missed something rather obvious, but still... how fascinating.

As far as the governor's race goes, perhaps the GOP should just throw up its collective hands and cry uncle!

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