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Wichita mayoral challenger Lily Wu has reported raising and spending more over the last three months than she did in the primary, when her fundraising outpaced the other eight candidates combined.
Wu raised $220,574 and spent $221,731 between July 21 and Oct. 26, a new campaign finance filing with the Sedgwick County Election Office shows.
Incumbent Mayor Brandon Whipple raised $72,469 and spent $86,513 over the same period, his filing shows.
Wu still has $89,231 cash on hand, leaving her equipped for a final messaging push ahead of the Nov. 7 election. Whipple has $13,733 left in his campaign coffers.
In a statement to The Eagle, Wu said her fundraising amount indicates Wichitans are ready for change.
“I’m grateful for the nearly 900 contributors who represent a diverse and broad cross-section of occupations, political ideologies, and backgrounds throughout Wichita,” Wu said.
Whipple said elections are “won by votes, not dollars.”
“I have donors from every zip code of Wichita and almost 500 donations under $50,” Whipple said. “Even if the Wichitans who support me can’t afford to give $500, their vote counts the same on Election Day.”
“Wu’s number is huge, even considering that she can go back to donors that maxed out for the first round,” said Neal Allen, chair of the Wichita State political science department. “There is probably a diminishing return for additional campaign spending at this level, but Wu’s fundraising is more like a statewide candidate than a local candidate.”
Americans for Prosperity, the Charles Koch-backed conservative advocacy group that spent more than $66,000 to boost Wu’s campaign in the weeks before the primary, reported spending almost twice as much on her behalf over the following three months — $126,272.
Wichita’s Future PAC, whose treasurer is Chelsea Whipple, upped its spending from $3,443 in the primary to $19,021 in support of Brandon Whipple’s re-election bid. The Kansas Democratic Party, which has also bolstered Whipple’s campaign down the stretch, has not reported its spending yet.
Wu raised $157,724 in individual contributions from people who donated in their own name. She received another $62,850 in corporate contributions, including numerous instances of where the maximum $500 gift was given from multiple companies registered to the same address.
Several prolific Wu donors who bundled contributions in the primary did so again in the general. Eleven businesses associated with oil business mogul Gerald O’Shaunessy gave a combined $5,500 and four family members also gave the maximum legal contribution in their own names.
Wichita homebuilder Jay Russell also gave Wu $5,500 through eleven separate limited liability companies registered to the same address.
Whipple garnered $5,500 in combined contributions from unions and other labor organizations. $1,500 of his $1,750 in corporate donations were from three companies tied to local attorney Morgan Koon.
Whipple’s filing shows his campaign made a $15,000 donation to the Kansas Democratic Party on Sept. 22 and lists a combined $34,191 in in-kind contributions from the state party. Most of those in-kind contributions were for mail and postage, as well as mail service and software provided to Whipple’s campaign.
Wu received $500 from Connecticut-based Restoring Our Nation PAC and another $500 from Champion American Values PAC, which is chaired by former Secretary of State and Wichita congressman Mike Pompeo.
His wife, Susan Pompeo, gave Wu $500 in her own name, and former mayoral candidate Celeste Racette gave Wu $200.
City Council races
New campaign finance filings also show who has raised and spent the most money in Wichita’s three City Council races since the primary.
Marcey Gregory: $8,760 raised; $6,803 spent; $6,907 on hand
Becky Tuttle: $30,435 raised; $48,375 spent; $22,515 on hand
Hatim Zeineddine filed a campaign termination report with the election office rather than a campaign finance report.
Dalton Glasscock: $24,984 raised; $21,416 spent; $31,856 on hand
Judy Pierce: $4,281 raised; $4,555 spent; $110 on hand
Gary Bond: $6,410 raised; $3,979 spent; $4,574 on hand
J.V. Johnston: $31,795 raised; $39,788 spent; $24,595 on hand
Ben Taylor: $6,945 raised; $4,321 spent; $3,124 on hand