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SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Last-minute run will top off campaigns

Published on -10/30/2012, 9:45 AM

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Remember those times when if you raised one eyebrow just a dab while looking into the eyes of the bartender, he or she would pour just a couple drops more rum into your drink, in an implicit bargain that meant the tip would be bigger?

Well, that mini-drama is going to take place at the end of this week, in dozens, probably scores, of Kansas House and Senate campaigns leading up to the Nov. 6 elections.

No, campaign contributors aren't going to be topping off drinks; they'll be topping off campaign contributions or independent spending in races where maybe just one more radio or TV or newspaper ad or more robo-calls or mail pieces might just make the difference in electing the contributor's favorite candidate.

And, when even if the secret polling (and it is going on in several districts) shows that the contributor's favorite candidate appears to be winning, well, that candidate will remember well that the contributor topped off his/her drink, and probably be more amenable to whatever the contributor wants the Legislature to do.

Today, of course, was the filing deadline for campaign finance statements by candidates and by a broad range of others who are putting reportable money into elections.

It's the chance for candidates to see what their opponents have raised (and from whom) and what they have spent (and on what) in their general election battles.

Those likely will show that most campaigns have spent all the money that the candidate and the candidate's advisers have figured is enough to win the election -- or show that they spent all they had, but didn't spend enough.

That's when friends of candidates -- but more interestingly the political action committees (PACs) -- can take a look and pour a little more money either into the candidate's campaign fund or as an independent expenditure by the PAC.

Those last-minute campaign contributions have to be reported for the rest of this week, and even as late as the day before the election, in what Statehouse insiders consider the final lap of the campaign, that last-minute mailing or round of robo-calls that might tip an election.

Those last-minute election spending reports -- available at the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission website (look for campaign finance, then scroll down to "view submitted forms & reports") -- follow the flow of both money and spending that lead up to Election Day.

That is the last-minute spending that is the equivalent of catching the bartender's eye, and an indication of what that private polling is showing about individual races that might just tip an election or put another pro-something-or-other member on a legislative committee which can pass or kill or maybe fix a bill that contributors are interested in.

For candidates who appear to be winning already, those last-minute contributions might just be the key to an election-night party where nobody's measuring their pours.

Bottom's up!

Syndicated by Hawver News Co. of Topeka, Martin Hawver is publisher of Hawver's Capitol Report. To learn more about this nonpartisan statewide political news service, visit www.hawvernews.com.

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