WITCHITA, KS – Kansas residents have shelled out thousands for the U.S. Senate campaign in North Carolina of Elizabeth Dole, wife of former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole.
With more than $76,000 in contributions by April, Kansas is seventh among the states in contributions to the Dole campaign, according to an analysis of campaign records, The Wichita Eagle reported.
The figure puts Kansas in the same league with larger states like Texas and Florida in what is expected to be a very expensive race for the seat being vacated by the retiring Republican Sen. Jesse Helms.
Many of the Kansas contributors are longtime Dole supporters.
"I've known the Doles for 184 years," chuckled Wichita developer George Ablah, who has given $1,000 to the campaign so far.
But the out-of-state donations have drawn criticism.
"Dole bills herself as being things she's not," said Ada Fisher, who is challenging Dole for the Republican Senate nomination. "She's not a North Carolinian. She lives in the Watergate Hotel" in Washington, D.C., she said.
Dole spokeswoman Janet Bradbury pointed to awards Dole has won from North Carolina organizations over the years to dispute opponents' claims. Bradbury said Dole has always been considered a North Carolinian.
Dole grew up in Salisbury, N.C., but had been registered to vote in Kansas since 1975 -- shortly before her husband became President Gerald Ford's running mate. Before she entered the Senate campaign last August, Dole terminated her voter registration in Kansas and registered to vote in North Carolina.
Wichita residents had given $45,000 to Dole's campaign -- more than any other city in the state.
"A friend of mine in the oil business asked me to contribute. It's that simple," said Stanley Andeel, a lawyer at Foulston and Seifkin who gave Dole $2,000, according to election records.
Andeel, 60, said he has contributed to Dole campaigns for years, though this is the first time he remembers giving to an out-of-state campaign. He said he doesn't know much about the North Carolina race, but, "I am an admirer and supporter of her and her husband. She's a good Republican."
North Carolina's primary is delayed indefinitely until a redistricting plan is approved. A Superior Court judge ruled Friday for a state Senate-backed plan that incorporated some Republican changes to a Democratic-backed House map. The state could still appeal the map to the state Supreme Court.