The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Sam Brownback’s running mate helped him avoid an embarrassing fundraising report

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) is facing a tougher-than-expected reelection fight (John Hanna/AP)
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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R), fighting growing perceptions that he faces a difficult reelection battle amid unrest within his own party, barely outraised his little-known Democratic opponent in the first half of the year — but only with the help of his well-heeled running mate.

Brownback’s campaign raised $1,244,281 during the first six and a half months of the year, according to reports [pdf] filed with the Governmental Ethics Commission in Topeka. His opponent, state House Majority Leader Paul Davis (D), pulled in [pdf] $1,121,979 over the same time frame.

But Brownback’s haul includes a $500,000 loan from Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer (R), a plastic surgeon and former state legislator. Without the loan, made last week, just a day before the reporting period ended, Brownback would have raised $370,000 less than Davis.

It’s not the first time Colyer has opened his checkbook for the ticket. Last year, he loaned the campaign another half million dollars, which the campaign repaid at the beginning of January, the Kansas City Star reported.

Brownback still maintains a million-dollar cash-on-hand advantage over Davis, with $2.3 million left in the bank. But the last-minute loan suggests Brownback needs help to keep up with Davis. Recent automated polls have showed Davis leading Brownback, and drawing a significant amount of Republican support along the way.

More than 100 prominent Republicans, angered over tax cuts spearheaded by the Brownback administration, endorsed Davis earlier this month. Brownback also helped defeat six incumbent Republican state senators in primary elections in 2012, as conservatives ousted moderates who controlled the Senate.