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Kansas U.S. Senate race breaks spending records for campaigns

Posted at 3:00 AM, Oct 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-30 18:56:09-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas voters are witnessing the most expensive U.S. Senate race in state history.

Republican U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall and Democratic state Senator Barbara Bollier are running to replace Sen. Pat Roberts.

Campaign finance data shows roughly $65 million has already been spent in the race.

"You can total up every Senate and governor's race for the last decade in the state of Kansas, and it's still less than what they've spent so far," UMKC Associate Professor Greg Vonnahme said.

Bollier, who has collected more than $24 million, has a big fund raising advantage over Marshall, who has raised about $6 million.

However, individual campaign totals aren't the only important metrics.

"If you look at total spending, outside groups have closed that gap significantly," Vonnahme said.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, outside groups have spent $23 million against Bollier compared to nearly $16 million against Marshall.

Meanwhile, $5.5 million was spent in support of Marshall, and $890,000 in support of Bollier.

Among outside spenders, the biggest contributor so far is the Senate Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC that poured in $15.6 million against Bollier.

Other top spenders include liberal super PACs Duty & Country and Sunflower State, as well as Americans for Prosperity Action, labeled by OpenSecrets as a conservative group. AFP Action spent $31.5 million for Republicans and $93,000 for Democrats in the 2020 election cycle. The group also spent $8.9 million against Democrats.

So why so much money is flooding the race?

American Conservative Union Chairman, Matt Schlapp explained in a recent campaign stop for Marshall and other Kansas GOP candidates.

"The court is sitting there on the table. The Senate majority is sitting there on the table," Schlapp said.

The latest data analysis from FiveThirtyEight has democrats favored to win the Senate.

Although spending is breaking state records in Kansas, even more money is pouring into other states. In Iowa, for example, more than $200 million has been spent on a senate seat.

An earlier version of this story identified Americans for Prosperity Action as a Republican group. We regret the error.

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