Incumbent Holland outraises conservative challenger Dove in race for area Senate seat

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Kansas Statehouse in Topeka

One of the only contested legislative races in the Douglas County area — between incumbent Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, and Rep. Willie Dove, R-Bonner Springs, for the 3rd District Senate seat — has seen an influx of tens of thousands of fundraising dollars between the two candidates.

The incumbent Holland, though, outraised Dove by roughly $17,500 and ended the reporting period from July 22 to Oct. 24 with $36,361 more cash on hand than his conservative challenger. Dove, on the other hand, actually outspent Holland by a narrow margin.

Here’s how the two campaigns reported their financial standings just a week out from the Nov. 3 election:

Tom Holland, incumbent Democrat, has held Senate District 3 seat since 2009

• Cash on hand at the beginning of the reporting period: $31,419.43

• Total contributions and other receipts: $48,045

• Total expenditures and other disbursements: $31,558.50

• Cash on hand at close of the period: $47,905.93

Willie Dove, current Republican House District 38 representative, has held seat since 2013

• Cash on hand at the beginning of the reporting period: $13,944.35

• Total contributions and other receipts: $30,501

• Total expenditures and other disbursements: $32,901.20

• Cash on hand at close of the period: $11,544.15

Both finance reports were fairly routine, with Holland garnering 23 donations of the maximum $1,000 amount and Dove garnering 21 such donations. Dove received support from Koch Industries, based in Wichita, and some conservative political action committees, while Holland received support from union organizations and education groups across the region.

However, there was one unusual appearance in the donors interested in the Holland-Dove race. Phil Ruffin, the Kansas native and casino mogul who is close to President Donald Trump, donated $500 to the Democrat in the race, Holland. Ruffin, in the 2016 campaign season, donated some $2.5 million to Trump’s campaign.

According to filings from the Federal Election Commission, Ruffin has already given Republican candidates and committees some $900,000 this cycle.

When reached, Holland said his impression was that Ruffin donated to his campaign because of the interests Ruffin, of Las Vegas, has in gambling interests in Kansas.

“I’m assuming he’s donating to my campaign because he knows my background and how I’ve voted on those issues,” Holland said in a brief phone interview.

Dove did not respond to a request for comment.

The Holland-Dove race is one of few contested legislative elections in the area, as Reps. Mike Amyx and Barbara Ballard and Sen. Marci Francisco, all Lawrence Democrats, are running unopposed.

Christina Haswood, a 26-year-old Lawrence native, won a three-way primary in August for the Democratic nomination for the House District 10 seat vacated by outgoing Rep. Eileen Horn, D-Lawrence. She faces no general election challenger.

Rep. Boog Highberger, D-Lawrence, faced no primary challenger in August and faces no Republican opposition in November, but does have a general election challenger from the Libertarian Party in Dante Javaheri. Javaheri’s campaign website doesn’t detail much about his past experiences, but says he’s running on a third-party ticket because the current system is “failing.”

Javaheri had not filed a finance report at the time of publication even though Monday was the filing deadline. Highberger reported raising over $9,700 in the July-October reporting period, spending just over $8,000, and having over $5,300 in cash on hand.

Tuesday is the last day in Kansas to request an advance mail ballot for the Nov. 3 election, and advance voting is ongoing in Douglas County. For more information about the candidates on the ballot, when and where to vote, or other information about the 2020 election, visit


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