Yoder Far Ahead In Kansas 3rd District Money Game, Davis Holds Fundraising Edge In 2nd District | KCUR

Yoder Far Ahead In Kansas 3rd District Money Game, Davis Holds Fundraising Edge In 2nd District

Jul 16, 2018

This story has been updated. An earlier version listed incorrect fundraising totals for two candidates.

Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder’s most recent campaign finance report shows him far ahead of challengers in raising funds to hold the seat representing Johnson and Wyandotte counties.

In the race to replace Republican U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins in a district covering Topeka, Lawrence and much of the rest of eastern Kansas, the lone Democrat enjoys a money advantage over Republicans who first must elbow past each other.

Both races have drawn national attention, and money from national party groups, amid the belief that it’s plausible for seats long held by Republicans to shift to Democrats in the first election since President Donald Trump took office.

That possibility drew a large group of Democrats angling for a shot to take down Yoder. Jenkins’ decision not to seek re-election attracted Paul Davis, who won the district in his failed attempt to be elected governor four years ago. It also drew a large field of Republicans.

Races in both districts have drawn interest from independent expenditure committees, groups that don’t give directly to candidates and are unlimited in what they can spend. They also face far fewer disclosure requirements.

Here is a summary of candidate resources based on the latest Federal Election Commission filings covering their activities through June.

2nd District

Davis has pulled well ahead in the money race, leaving behind a crowd of Republican hopefuls jostling for resources.

The Davis campaign has taken in $1.5 million with almost $900,000 still on hand.

His money comes mostly from individual donors. Among the $270,000 he’s pulled in from political action committees, much of it comes from labor unions, Democratic coalitions and education groups.

The three Republican candidates who’ve raised the most money are Steve Watkins and state senators Caryn Tyson and Steve Fitzgerald.

Watkins reported around $615,000 and has spent less than half of it. He loaned the bulk of that money — $475,000 — to his campaign.

Tyson has about $470,000 and has spent less than $70,000. She lent or gave a little less than half of that to her campaign, which is pulling in money from groups like the Kansas Bankers Association and the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List.

Fitzgerald reported about $445,000, including the $300,000 he lent himself.

3rd District

The gap in fundraising is even wider In the 3rd District, where the incumbent is seeking another term.

Yoder’s receipts topped $2.7 million — with $1.8 million still on hand — compared to the less than $6,500 that fellow Republican Trevor Keegan pulled in.

Yoder hasn’t broken into his own piggy bank. He’s drawing from Republican Party political action committees, the banking and finance industry, and other major corporate givers, such as AT&T, Delta Airlines and Koch Industries.

In the Democratic primary, Tom Niermann, Brent Welder and Silvia Williams have amassed the most resources.

Niermann took in nearly $700,000 — almost entirely in the form of gifts from individual donors — and has about $385,000 on hand.

Welder reported a little more than $670,000 — including about $55,000 he loaned the campaign — and has $400,000 on hand. His donors include unions and Democratic groups.

Sylvia Williams’ campaign has more than $230,000 on hand of a total $311,000 in receipts. That includes nearly $260,000 in loans from the candidate.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen is a reporter for the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. You can reach her on Twitter @Celia_LJ.

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