Friday, June 15, 2012

The State of Campaign Finance in Kansas


While the Kansas City Missouri City Council is busy wasting tax money passing meaningless proclamations, we're looking at the real state of campaign finance in Kansas by examining the 2010 finance reports.

Let's take a look at the top 10 campaign contributors to Kansas House races in 2010 [1]:


ContributorTotal% of TotalSector
DONOHOE, OWEN$115,1002.10%Candidate Contributions
BROWN, TONY$108,1001.97%Candidate Contributions
KANSAS OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION$94,0501.72%Health
KANSAS CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION$85,8001.57%Construction
KANSAS MEDICAL SOCIETY$82,8501.51%Health
KANSAS NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION$70,7501.29%Labor
KANSAS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY$68,7501.26%General Business
KANSAS ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS$66,6251.22%Finance, Insurance & Real Estate
KANSAS BANKERS ASSOCIATION$66,2881.21%Finance, Insurance & Real Estate
AT&T$65,0981.19%Communications & Electronics

Coming in at numbers one and two are Owen Donohoe (Republican) and Tony Brown (Democrat).  The bulk of the contributions made by these two individuals were to their own campaigns.  Donohoe, who won his race, raised a total of $121,850.  His next competitor raised a little over $25,000.  Tony Brown raised $142,630 for his failed campaign.  The woman who beat him, just under $22,000.

We couldn't help noticing the company that donated the most was AT&T, a company we have pointed out in the past as spending more on lobbying than on research and development, explaining in large part why the US lags so far behind in broadband deployment.

Here's the ten House campaigns that raised the most:


CandidatePartyDistrictElection StatusTotal
BROWN, TONYDEMOCRAT010Lost - General Election$142,630
DONOHOE, OWENREPUBLICAN039Won$121,850
MOSIER, SUSANREPUBLICAN067Won$98,354
ONEAL, MICHAEL R (MIKE)REPUBLICAN104Won$91,101
DENNING, JIMREPUBLICAN019Won$79,492
MERRICK, RAYREPUBLICAN027Won$70,348
TALIA, MILACKDEMOCRAT023Lost - General Election$69,489
MENGHINI, JULIEDEMOCRAT003Lost - General Election$68,084
GORDON, LANAREPUBLICAN052Won$65,725
KINZER, LANCEREPUBLICAN014Won$64,249
There were only 5 Kansas Senate candidates in 2010.  The average raised was $52,311 with the average raised by the winners being $91,147.

When we look at the top ten donors to Senate campaigns, once again we see AT&T rear its ugly head:


ContributorTotal% of TotalSector
AT&T$23,2504.15%Communications & Electronics
HARVEY, DAVID$19,8003.54%Candidate Contributions
KANSANS FOR LIFESAVING CURES$18,0003.21%Ideology/Single Issue
LONGBINE, JEFF$12,0002.14%Candidate Contributions
KANSAS REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL CMTE$9,2361.65%Party
KANSAS CABLE TELECOMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATION$9,0001.61%Communications & Electronics
ONEOK INC$8,0001.43%Energy & Natural Resources
PRAIRIE BAND POTAWATOMI NATION$6,7501.21%Government Agencies/Education/Other
QC HOLDINGS$6,7501.21%Finance, Insurance & Real Estate
HOSPITAL CORP OF AMERICA$6,3501.13%Health

The cost of running for office in Kansas has been an increasingly expensive proposition and 2012 promises to be one of the most expensive.  In 2002, the total contribution to House campaigns was $3.7 million with a per candidate average of $15,000, that number ballooned to $5.4 million in 2010 and an average of $21,900.  For the Senate, the total contributions for 2004 (there were no candidates in 2002) was  $4.7 million with a per candidate average of $39,800.  In 2010, that average had grown to $52,300.

We project the average contributions raised in 2012,for the Senate will be $54,900 and for the House it will be $23,200.

In case you are wondering, for the 2012 House and Senate campaigns a total of $3.2 million has already been raised.  The top contributor is Rob Olson, who is running for re-election and contributed $100,000.  AT&T rounds out the top 5, having already contributed more than $50,000.

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