Democratic candidate Paul Davis has taken an early jump over Republican rivals in the race for Kansas’ 2nd District Congressional seat, according to Federal Elections Commission filings due Sunday.
Davis, who challenged Gov. Sam Brownback in his 2014 re-election, raised more than $400,000 between July 1 and Sep. 30, and he has more than twice as much cash on hand as any other candidate, according to the FEC. He entered the race halfway through the quarter, Aug. 15.
Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins announced in January she would retire from politics when her term ends in early 2019.
Davis raised more than the four Republicans in the race — state Sens. Caryn Tyson and Steve Fitzgerald, state Rep. Kevin Jones and ex-Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave. Tyson and Fitzgerald each have about $150,000 on hand and have made loans to their campaigns.
The filings were the first since Davis, Tyson, Jones and Soave entered the race. Patrick Miller, an assistant political science professor at the University of Kansas, said he thought the filing showed a good start for Davis, and strong fundraising could get him attention from super PACs, which have been known to outspend candidates in some races.
“Paul Davis really wants to signal to super PACs that he’s a strong candidate that they should invest in despite the Republican lean of the district,” Miller said.
The district re-elected Jenkins in 2014 while favoring Davis in the governor’s race.
Washburn University Political Science Professor Bob Beatty said he thought Davis would need to raise about $2 million. He said without a clear front-runner on the Republican side, strong fundraising by Davis could stifle those donations.
“Davis raising close to half a million dollars can have a dampening effect on the Republican side, so I think there’s going to be a little bit of a waiting period while donors will see how these candidates do,” Beatty said.
Davis is currently the only Democrat fundraising while Tyson, Fitzgerald, Jones and Soave vie for the Republican nomination.