TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — The latest campaign finance reports show that candidates in some statewide races are spending big ahead of Tuesday’s primary.
Some have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, while others have spent in the millions. The ticket for Democrat Governor Laura Kelly and Lieutenant Governor David Toland has spent $2.1 million ahead of Primary Election Day. The leading Republican ticket, featuring Attorney General Derek Schmidt and his running mate, Katie Sawyer, spent $707,000.
Kansas Capitol Bureau spoke with political analyst Bob Beatty who said whether campaigns are spending a lot of money or holding back, it will be hard to predict what could happen come time for the General Election in November.
“What we’re seeing in Kansas is the Laura Kelly campaign has come out with a number of TV ads, spending money very early March, April, May,” Beatty said. “Whereas, the Derek Schmidt campaign is holding back on any TV ads, obviously until at least after the Primary, essentially, allowing Political Action Committees to do the work.”
The Republican Governor’s Association has invested millions into launching TV ads for this year’s Kansas Grand Old Party (GOP) race, putting $3.5 million in ad reservations for September through Election Day later this year.
Beatty said both the Kelly and Schmidt campaigns are using two different strategies in their approach to spending, noting that there can be pros and cons to both. Usually, running ads ahead of a Primary won’t catch too many eyes. However, this year, Kansas will be the first state to vote on abortion rights after the fall of Roe v. Wade.
“Now there’s all this attention on Kansas, and more people, arguably, are paying attention,” Beatty said. “The Schmidt people may simply say, ‘No, once we really get going, it won’t matter.'”
Beatty said abortion could also play a role in turnout for the General election. If it passes, he said this could upset some Democrats and push more to come out in November.
People are also keeping an eye on who could win the GOP race for Attorney General. State Senator Kellie Warren, long-time federal prosecutor Tony Mattivi and former Secretary of State Kris Kobach are vying for the slot.
Warren spent $319,000 on the Primary campaign. Mattivi trailed behind with $228,000. Kris Kobach, who also loaned his own campaign $200,000 earlier this year, has spent $350,000.
However, Beatty said the “wildcard” in this race is ad spending from outside groups. He said this could impact the outcome of the election.
“Election day. My biggest question is going to be how much influence do those outside groups have on this race,” Beatty said.