UPDATED: Kelly fundraising hits $4.5 million; campaign claims record


(Updated to correct the amount that Kelly raised in 2022 to $1.5 million)

Gov. Laura Kelly’s campaign announced Monday that it has raised $4.5 million for her reelection bid, surpassing what previous governors have raised at this point going into a reelection campaign.

The Kelly campaign announced that it hauled in $1.5 million for the reporting period that ran from Jan. 1 through July 21 of this year.

It brought the governor’s total fundraising for the election cycle to about $4.5 million.

The campaign proclaimed the fundraising haul a record, both for the reporting period that just ended as well as the entire cycle.

The campaign report later showed that Kelly had about $1.3 million in cash on hand.

Kelly has been raising healthy sums of money for her reelection bid since her first year in office when she raised $586,000, which even then was more than former Govs. Sam Brownback and Kathleen Sebelius had raised at a similar point during their terms.

But Democratic pessimists understand that money doesn’t buy votes, noting the $30 million that former state Sen. Barbara Bollier raised in her race for the U.S. Senate against Roger Marshall, and she came up well short.

But Kelly is running as a sitting governor, an inherent advantage given that academic research shows that 75% of incumbent governors have won reelection since the 1950s.

Kelly’s fundraising at this point is better than the $3.2 million Brownback had raised at this point during his tenure, which included two $500,000 loans from former Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer.

Meanwhile, former Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius reported raising about $3.6 million by this point as she was headed into reelection.

Republican Derek Schmidt, the presumptive GOP nominee for governor, announced his fundraising totals late Monday night.

The campaign said it had raised about $707,000 this year, less than half of what Kelly raised.

The campaign is already anticipated to be very expensive, which is already demonstrated by the amount of money that has been spent on broadcast television.

So far, about $20 million has been spent or booked for broadcast advertising in the Kansas governor’s race, according to the national ad tracking firm AdImpact.

By comparison, the 2018 governor’s race – the primary and general – cost about $13 million in broadcast advertising.

Schmidt’s campaign has been buoyed by either the Republican Governors Association or an RGA-affiliated group that calls itself Get Families Back to Work.

Together those groups have spent or booked about $9.4 million in broadcast advertising compared to about $11 million for Democratic groups.

There is an independent federal PAC – Our Way of Life – created to help Schmidt, and it has reported raising about $244,000 since last year.

Kelly has received outside help as well.

The Democratic-leaning Kansas Values Institute, a nonprofit that doesn’t have to disclose its donors, has already spent or booked about $10.2 million.

The Kelly campaign has spent or booked about about $1.2 million of its own money for broadcast advertising, according to AdImpact.

The National Education Association and the Bluestem Fund are now also spending some money on mobile ads well, according to AdImpact.