Davis’ Strong Fundraising Start Has Republicans Scrambling In Kansas Congressional Race

Oct 9, 2017

Democrat Paul Davis is off to a strong fundraising start in his bid to capture the 2nd District congressional seat being vacated by Republican Lynn Jenkins, who is not seeking a sixth term.

Davis recently announced that he had raised $400,000 despite getting a late start.

He launched his campaign Aug. 15, about halfway through the most recent campaign finance reporting period. 

“We have a long way to go in this campaign, but Kansans of all political stripes rallied together in an incredible outpouring of grassroots support,” Davis said in a media release issued by his campaign. “I am deeply humbled by how many of my fellow Kansans chipped in to help build our early momentum.”

Davis, a former minority leader in the Kansas House, lost a 2014 bid to unseat Republican Gov. Sam Brownback but carried the 2nd District in that race.

Kelly Standley, a resident of St. Paul and former chair of the Neosho County Democratic Party, is challenging Davis for the nomination. His campaign has not yet reported fundraising numbers.

Only one of the four candidates running for the Republican nomination in the 2nd District has posted updated totals.

Vernon Fields, a member of the Basehor City Council, has raised $9,765, according to the Federal Election Commission

State Sen. Steve Fitzgerald, a conservative Republican from Leavenworth, raised $100,800 in the March 1 to June 30 reporting period but has not released totals for the most recent period, which started July 1 and ended Sept. 30.

However, Fitzgerald sent an urgent fundraising message to supporters last week urging them to help him “stop Davis.”

“This does not look good for Kansas,” Fitzgerald said. “Davis is expecting even more funding from the DNC and other radical leftist groups.”

The 2nd District is one of two congressional districts in Kansas being targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as part of an effort to regain control of the U.S. House. The 3rd District seat held by four-term Republican Kevin Yoder is the other.

More than 99 percent of the money Davis raised is from individual contributors, most of them Kansans giving $100 or less, according to the media release from his campaign.

In addition to Fitzgerald and Fields, state Sen. Caryn Tyson, from Parker, and former Kansas Secretary of Commerce Antonio Soave are running for the GOP nomination.

Soave’s campaign appears to be off to a rough start. The Kansas City Star reported in late September that Brownback forced Soave out of his Cabinet after learning that a former business partner had sued him for misuse of funds. 

Jim McLean is managing director of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. You can reach him on Twitter @jmcleanks. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to kcur.org.