Topeka Democrat Paul Davis has raised more than $1.1 million for his gubernatorial campaign since January, about 50 percent more than incumbent Republican Gov. Sam Brownback raised over the same period, according to campaign finance reports released Monday.
But Brownback goes into the general election cycle with almost twice as much cash on hand — $2.36 million, compared with $1.32 million for Davis.
Those reports come on the heels of a new SurveyUSA poll showing Davis has widened his lead to 8 percentage points over Brownback, although neither candidate is polling over 50 percent. That poll, released Friday, showed Davis ahead, 48-40 percent.
Both campaigns issued statements casting their finance reports in the most favorable light.
“Kansans are deeply concerned about Sam Brownback’s ‘real live experiment’ and the toll it is taking on our state,” Davis said. “Kansans are worried about their local schools and the future we are leaving our children. Our donors are a clear reflection of the broad, bipartisan support Jill and I have earned during the past year.” Jill Docking is Davis' running mate.
But Brownback's campaign said the Davis camp spent $565,000 during the period without spending any money on TV or radio advertising.
“I guess this is the kind of wasteful, out-of-control spending one would expect from a liberal lawyer from Lawrence,” said spokesman John Milburn, who also lives in Lawrence.
Milburn noted that Brownback's advantage in having far more cash on hand. But that balance includes a $500,000 personal loan that Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer made to the campaign.
According to Davis' report, the Democrat received $1,121,979 from Jan. 1 through July 24. His campaign spent $565,889, leaving it with $1,324,70 in cash on hand.
Brownback's report was not yet available online through the Governmental Ethics Commission's website Monday afternoon. But in a news release, the campaign said it had reported $744,281 in contributions over the same period, with $2.365 million available in cash on hand.
On Dec. 31, the last day of the previous reporting cycle, Colyer made a $500,000 loan to the Brownback campaign, boosting his totals so it initially looked like Brownback had substantially out-raised Davis in 2013. Without that loan, however, the two candidates had very similar contribution totals of a little more than $1 million each.
This week's reports show the Brownback campaign repaid that loan two days later, on Jan. 2. But Colyer made another $500,000 loan on July 23, the next-to-last day of the current reporting cycle.
The campaign finance reports came as two recent polls showed different trends in the governor's race, although both said neither candidate is drawing 50-percent support from likely voters.
A SurveyUSA poll released Friday, conducted on behalf of KSN-TV in Wichita, showed Davis leading Brownback, 48-40 percent. That's a slightly wider margin than the polling firm found a month ago.
SurveyUSA uses automated phone calls with pre-recorded questions from a local TV news personality. The survey of 1,208 likely voters, including both land line and cell phone users, was conducted July 17-22 and had a margin of sampling error of 2.8 percentage points.
It also showed that among all voters surveyed, education funding ranked as the top issue in the race, with 34 percent of those surveyed saying it was the most important issue to them. And among those voters, 78 percent said they support Davis, compared to 18 percent for Brownback.
Slightly fewer voters, 32 percent, cited tax rates as the most important issue. And among those voters, Brownback led by a narrower margin, 55-34 percent.
Meanwhile, an internet-based poll by the market research firm YouGov found Brownback leading, 47-37 percent.
That poll was on behalf of the New York Times and CBS News. It surveyed a panel of about 100,000 registered voters in all 50 states. Authors of the survey did not report a statistical margin of error.
Secretary of State fundraising
In the GOP primary for Secretary of State, incumbent Kris Kobach remains far ahead of his challenger, Lawrence businessman Scott Morgan, in terms of fundraising.
Contribution reports showed that Kobach started the year with about $124,000 in cash on hand. He raised another $105,000 and spent about $32,000, leaving him with a little less than $200,000 in the final days of the primary campaign.
Morgan's finance report showed that he has raised only $20,925 since entering the race May 21.
“This has never been about cash, this has always been about a cause,” Morgan said in an email statement. “This was always going to be a David and Goliath campaign with Kobach having hundreds of thousands of dollars and my campaign having nothing more than a message of Kansas decency that resonates with hundreds of thousands of Kansans.”