GOP incumbents stockpiling campaign funds
TOPEKA (AP) — Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, the Kansas congressional incumbents with the most spirited re-election contests so far, have both stockpiled more than $1.4 million in campaign cash, records showed Tuesday.
Roberts' campaign said in its latest finance report that it ended September with almost $1.84 million in cash on hand after raising net contributions of nearly $522,000 during the previous three months. No Democrat has publicly announced plans to challenge the Republican senator, but he's facing a primary challenge from Dr. Milton Wolf, a Leawood radiologist known in tea party circles for his vocal criticism of the federal health care overhaul.
Jenkins, a Republican representing the 2nd Congressional District of eastern Kansas, disclosed that her campaign raised almost $258,000 from July through September and ended the quarter with nearly $1.45 million in cash.
Margie Wakefield, a Lawrence attorney, is running for the seat as a Democrat, and her campaign raised almost $110,000 during the last quarter and ended September with about $96,000 in cash on hand.
Wakefield campaign manager Mark Sump said the Democrat has seen interest in her campaign pick up because of the partial shutdown of the federal government. Jenkins is part of the House Republican leadership team.
"We're seeing a lot of support that is generating a lot of enthusiasm for this race," Sump said. "We're going to have the money to compete."
But Jenkins spokesman Bill Roe said the already wide gap in campaign cash between the two candidates is likely to grow and that Jenkins remains popular, even with an anti-incumbent mood nationally.
Jenkins, a former state treasurer, is seeking her fourth two-year term in Congress.
"Any thought of competitiveness in this race is manufactured and not reality," Roe said.
Roberts is running for his fourth six-year term in the Senate. Wolf formally announced his candidacy last week, after the period covered by the latest campaign finance reports.
Wolf's spokesman did not immediately return a cellphone message seeking comment. Wolf has portrayed Roberts as a career politician who's not conservative enough on issues such as health care.
But Dave Murfin, a prominent Wichita businessman serving as co-chairman of Roberts' re-election campaign, said the senator's fundraising shows that Kansans see Roberts as "the tough, tested and trusted conservative in this race."
"Pat has backed his strong grass-roots support, including endorsements from every corner of the state, with the very strong fundraising support that is needed to finance a winning campaign," Murfin said in a statement.