Thursday, October 02, 2014

House race proves costly for candidates, outside spenders

By DYLAN LYSEN, Herald Staff Writer | 8/1/2014

The race for Kansas House District 59 has been a costly war of words.

Candidates Blaine Finch and Bob Fluke filed fundraising and spending reports this week, though not all the money changing hands in the fight — which culminates Tuesday with the Republican primary election — came directly from their campaigns.

The race for Kansas House District 59 has been a costly war of words.

Candidates Blaine Finch and Bob Fluke filed fundraising and spending reports this week, though not all the money changing hands in the fight — which culminates Tuesday with the Republican primary election — came directly from their campaigns.

Incumbent state Rep. Finch, R-Ottawa, received a total of $24,940 in contributions since January, while his Republican challenger Fluke, a former Ottawa teacher, received a total of $4,898 in contributions during the same period, according to state documents.

Fluke, who also serves as Franklin County Republican Central Committee chair, did not file to run for the position until June 2, the filing deadline for office. His first contribution was received June 16, while Finch’s first contribution was received May 21.

Finch finished the period with $22,472.86 on hand, which could be spent ahead of the general election if he advances past Tuesday’s primary, while Fluke actually spent more than he had on hand during the period, and is $2,956.19 in debt, according to the state documents. Finch began the period with $20,487.16 on hand and spent a total of $22,954.30 during the period. Fluke began the period with no money and spend at total of $7,854.19.

While both candidates have their share of contributions from political action committees, Finch overwhelmingly had more contributions from Franklin County and other residents in the district. Fluke finished the period with a total of 14 contributions from residents and eight contributions from other groups. Finch finished the period with 47 contributions from residents and 55 contributions from other groups.

Finch and Fluke also received considerable help through advertising made by other groups. The Kansas Chamber PAC paid the Singularis Group, a direct mail advertising service in Shawnee Mission that focuses on GOP candidates, $5,712.86 for Fluke advertising. Kansas Realtors PAC paid Singularis Group $2,253.71 for Fluke advertisements. Kansas Traditional Republican Majority spent $3,354.30 to advertise against Fluke, essentially in support of Finch.

Kansans For Life did not list advertisement spending, except to note a $14,000 U.S. Postage payment.

Americans For Prosperity: Kansas and Kansas Values Institute, both of which sent out advertisements for Fluke and Finch respectively, are not political action committees, but instead are considered issue advocacy groups, Carol Williams, Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission executive director, said. Issue advocacy groups are outside the jurisdiction of the Government Ethics Commission, she said, and no information on their political advertising spending is available through the state filing system.

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