- Associated Press - Friday, March 31, 2017

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Political committees and groups have heavily bolstered Republican Ron Estes’ campaign coffers for a congressional seat the GOP has held for two decades in south-central Kansas, while Democrat James Thompson has raised more in grass-roots contributions, campaign finance filings show.

The race for the House seat vacated by CIA Director Mike Pompeo is the nation’s first congressional election since President Donald Trump’s victory. The special election is April 11.

Estes raked in the most campaign money overall: about $312,000 for his run in the heavily Republican 4th District. Nearly $190,000 of that came from individuals, and the rest of the money came from political committees and groups.

Among the political action committees contributing more than $93,000 to Estes’ campaign are groups tied to Koch Industries and to various conservative political organizations. Also funneling money into his campaign were the political action committees for industry groups such as the American Bankers Association, National Association of Home Builders, National Business Aviation Association, and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, among others.

“Our report shows a wide variety of support from Kansans of all walks of life who want to change Washington,” Estes campaign manager Rodger Woods said in a news release. “We are proud of the many contributions from inside of the state that demonstrate the solid footing our campaign is on going into the final week before the election.”

Thompson raised nearly $254,000 - with more than $248,000 of that money coming from individual contributions. The only political action committee that gave him any money was the one for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Thompson also got $3,000 from the Kansas Democratic Party.

More than $189,000 reported as individual contributions in Thompson’s filing comes from ActBlue, a Democratic online fundraising organization that provides the infrastructure to connect campaigns with small-dollar donors. His campaign said it aggregated those small ActBlue online donations in its campaign finance report, noting donations of less than $200 do not need to be individually reported.

His campaign spokesman, Chris Pumpelly, boasted that Thompson’s campaign had 4,232 individual contributions, mostly coming from Kansas donors, during the period with the average donation being $25. That demonstrates the strength and momentum of Thompson’s campaign, he said.

Thompson is a political newcomer whose candidacy is supported by Our Revolution, the group founded in the wake of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.

Sanders always talked about his small donations and Sander’s supporters, not just the ones in Kansas, are used to donating small amounts to candidates, said Bob Beatty, a political science professor at Washburn University.

“The Sanders message, and the Thompson message now, appeals to people who will give small donations - and they can all add up,” Beatty said.

The filing deadline was Thursday for the period covering Jan. 1 to March 22.

Libertarian candidate Chris Rockhold did not file a report.

Estes, who advertised heavily on television early in the campaign, has already spent more than $202,000 so far.

Thompson initially focused his advertising on social media platforms and has more recently begun advertising on television. He has spent about $146,000 to date.

Both major congressional campaigns now head into the final stretch before the April 11 election with roughly the same amount of cash on hand: Estes with $110,000 and Thompson with $107,000.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide