Saturday, April 29, 2006

Kiser Digs Into His Own Pockets To Finance Campaign

Kris Kiser(D) has found little luck in raising funds locally for his uphill campaign to unseat 7th District Congressperson Julia Carson in this Tuesday's Indiana primary. According to the most recent campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission by the Kiser campaign committee, the candidate has raised a mere $16,340 in contributions for his campaign, but he spent $133,295.71 and had cash on hand of $25,644.29.

Despite the paultry sum of campaign contributions Kiser reported, the candidate loaned his campaign committee $182,700, including a $40,000 loan just days ago, at a 7% interest rate. Kiser is securing the loans with residential property he owns in the District of Columbia worth in excess of $1 million.

Of the campaign contributions he has received to date, they have come largely from individuals living in the D.C. area. Kiser received just one local contribution from Ted Fleischaker, editor and publisher of The Word, Indiana's largest GLBT newspaper. Fleischaker made a $200 contribution to Kiser's campaign shortly after his newpaper caused quite a bit of a stir in the Indianapolis GLBT community after The Word endorsed the openly gay Kiser over Carson, even though she's been an outspoken supporter of gay rights during her decade in Congress. Kiser's campaign also purchased $3,137 worth of advertising in The Word according to Kiser's campaign finance report.

Although Kiser implied in an interview with The Word that he was supported in his bid by Congress' only two openly gay Democratic members, Rep. Barney Frank and Rep. Tammy Baldwin. AI later confirmed that neither candidate supported Kiser. Rep. Frank felt so strongly about Rep. Carson's re-election that he appeared at a fundraiser for Carson in Indianapolis earlier this month.

The report offered yet more griss for the gossip mill. Kiser's campaign paid former legislator Michael Marshall $15,000 for his services before ousting him as the campaign's manager. Marshall was also reimbursed by the campaign $2,715.60 for meals during his brief stint with the campaign. Marshall managed Joe Donnelly's unsuccessful race against Rep. Chris Chocola in 2004 and left that campaign under quite a cloud. Marshall left the campaign on something less than the best of terms and is not doing any favors for Kiser as his former campaign manager.

Kiser's campaign has also shelled out over $10,000 to Darryl Johnson, who is Kiser's life partner, for services performed on behalf of the campaign. Kiser and Johnson live in a home at 835 N. Butler in Indianapolis. As we previously reported on March 20, according to D.C. tax records, Kiser was claiming a homestead exemption on the residence he owns in D.C., even though he is registered to vote in Indianapolis and now claims his home in Indianapolis as his place of residence. Since our first report, the D.C. tax records for Kiser's property have been updated and now show that he is no longer claiming a homestead exemption.

A post on on Thursday by gay rights activist Marla Stevens has caused quite a stir in Kiser's campaign. Steven's post was replete with scandalous and damning accusations against Kiser and Johnson. Bil Browning, editor of, removed the post under the threat of a lawsuit from the Kiser campaign.

Despite being under fire within the GLBT community, Kiser is not giving up. This weekend the Kiser campaign is sending out robo-telephone messages to voters in the 10th District. The call has a recorded message from Kiser identifying himself as a former staffer to Rep. Lee Hamilton. The candidate says he believes "the country is headed in the wrong direction", and that he's challenging Rep. Carson. He says he believes the district needs "a strong, effective voice in Congress." He encourages votes to check out his website at

Previously an unknown, Kiser's campaign still remains a mystery to many local political observers. There is speculation that Kiser thought Carson would end her re-election bid due to ongoing health problems, providing him an opening to win the race. While that hasn't happened, there continues to be speculation that Carson will drop out after winning the May primary so that Democratic leaders can select her replacement, allowing the party to avoid a costly and bloody primary campaign. There are a number of local Democrats who are reportedly anxious to take Carson's place. Kiser is not on the top of any local party leader's list to replace Carson.


Anonymous said...

The Congresswoman is the 7th District Rep. If Kiser isn't having any luck it is because he's running for the 10th District (which hasn't existed since 2000...

Gary R. Welsh said...

Sorry about that--corrected.

Mitch said...

Your link to the Kiser campaign directs people to the Indiana Roll of Attorneys.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Thanks Mitch--the link should work now.