GOP surprise: Colyer leads Kobach in fundraising in Kansas governor’s race

In this Aug. 4, 2017 file photo, Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer speaks at the Wichita Pachyderm Club, in Wichita, Kan. (Bo Rader/The Wichita Eagle via AP, File)

? Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer raised more money than any other candidate from either major party in the 2018 race for governor, according to campaign finance reports made available Wednesday and Thursday.

Colyer, a Republican, surprised many observers by far outpacing the presumed front-runner in the race, Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

But a few other candidates on the Republican side, most notably Wichita businessman Willis “Wink” Hartman, made generous loans to their own campaigns out of their own pockets or business interests, giving them more resources to work with leading into the primary election campaign.

The reports, which were due before midnight Thursday, show fundraising and spending for the entire year of 2017.

Colyer, a Johnson County physician, raised $632,068 during the period, only $2,000 of which came from the Colyer Family Trust, according to his report. After expenses, that leaves his campaign with $548,802 in cash on hand going into 2018.

That was considerably better than Kobach, who reported raising $354,732 during the year, ranking him fourth among the seven major GOP candidates. He made no contributions or loans to his own campaign, and heads into 2018 with $260,902 in cash on hand.

On paper, Hartman looks to be the biggest fundraiser, taking in just over $1.83 million during the year. Of that, however, $1.685 million came in the form of loans from himself or business interests he controls.

That means he actually raised $145,661 from outside sources. But he headed into 2018 with a little more than $1.5 million in his campaign war chest.

Hartman is the head of Hartman Oil Co., a business he purchased from his father. He also owns or has interests in several other related companies.

Kansas Insurance Commissioner Ken Selzer also invested heavily in his own campaign. His report showed $713,482 in contributions, of which $285,700 came in the form of loans from himself, meaning he had net outside contributions of $427,782.

After expenses, Selzer heads into 2018 with $668,604 in cash on hand.

Former state Rep. Mark Hutton of Wichita showed $581,636 in contributions for the year, $200,000 of which came from himself, leaving him with $381,636 in net outside donations.

The other major GOP candidate is former Johnson County Rep. Ed O’Malley, who now lives in Wichita. He reported raising $218,362, all from outside sources, and he enters 2018 with $150,067 in cash on hand.

Meanwhile, independent candidate Greg Orman turned in a strong report that showed him raising $452,931. And while he made a small amount of “in-kind” contributions to his own campaign, paying for some supplies, legal expenses and political consulting out of his own pocket, he did not make any direct contributions or loans to his own campaign.

He did, however, receive a number of $2,000 contributions, the maximum amount allowed from an individual during the primary cycle, from people who share the last name Orman, and from out-of-state contributors.

Orman is a Johnson County businessman who ran a surprisingly close, but unsuccessful, campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2014 against incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts.

On the Democratic side, the four major candidates all raised less than any of the Republicans, and none of them made donations or loans to their own campaigns.

The leader in the Democratic race was also a surprise to some. Former Rep. Josh Svaty of Ellsworth reported the highest total among Democrats with $192,545 in contributions. After expenses, he heads into 2018 with $66,180 in the bank.

Svaty also had an advantage in that he was the first candidate to get into the Democratic race, having formed his campaign committee in mid-May.

But perhaps more noteworthy was Sen. Laura Kelly of Topeka, who only entered the race Dec. 15. But in two and a half weeks, she raised $155,691. And because she didn’t have time to spend much of that, she heads into the new year with $154,939 in the bank.

Kelly received a number of $2,000 contributions from a number of well-known Democratic contributors, most notably former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

House Minority Leader Jim Ward of Wichita, who got into the race in mid-August, reported raising $90,535 during the year. After expenses, he still has $58,834 in the bank to work with.

Among the notable contributors on Ward’s list was former Congressman Dan Glickman of Wichita.

Trailing the Democratic pack was former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer, who raised $45,470 during the year. After expenses, he was left with $14,627 in cash on hand.