Outside groups drive big spending in Kansas Senate race

Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 11:47 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Kansas Democrats haven’t held a U.S Senate seat since the 1930′s.

This election year, the polls are tight as Republican candidate Rep. Roger Marshall and Democrat State Sen. Barbara Bollier aim to replace Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) who announced his retirement last year.

Sen. Roberts is endorsing Marshall. He says he hopes to see another in-house transition of power.

“We’ve had a great relationship with the people of Kansas,” said Roberts. “I want to keep that going.”

However, the numbers tell a different story.

According to Brendan Quinn with the Center for Responsive Politics, Bollier has outspent her Republican opponent 4-to-1 over the past few months.

Data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics shows Bollier is shattering quarterly records and has collected more than $20 million to date. Recent numbers show Marshall has raised nearly $6 million.

“One advantage that benefited Bollier is that she didn’t have a competitive primary,” said Quinn. “Roger Marshall had to go through this very closely watched primary, whereas Boiler was able to just continue fundraising through primary season.”

Outside groups are also pouring millions of dollars into the race.

SuperPACs are shelling out big money on advertisements supporting and opposing each candidate. Most notably, the Democratic affiliate of the Senate Majority political action committee Duty and Country has contributed more than $5 million to the race. Likewise, the Republican Senate Leadership fund has contributed nearly $15 million.

Quinn says, in both cases, these outside groups tend to funnel more funding into attack advertisements, rather than on advertisements in support of their candidates.

“By airing the negative ads by this outside group that’s technically not connected to the candidate, that allows the candidate that they are supporting to spend more of their funds on positive ads about themselves,” said Quinn.

Quinn says the majority of races are won by the candidate who has raised the most amount of money, but adds this race might become an exception.

State Sen. Barbara Bollier was a Republican until 2018. The Gray Television Washington News Bureau reached out to Bollier’s campaign for comment but did not receive a response.

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