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Wagner leads Missouri congressional candidates -- in fundraising

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 1, 2012 - Republican Ann Wagner, who's increasingly scaring off challengers in her 2nd District bid, appears to have outraised all of the area's U.S. House candidates, in either party.

Wagner, a former ambassador and former state party chair, leads fundraising among area House candidates who have filed their reports so far with the Federal Election Commission.

Wagner's latest report, due today, shows that she has almost $1.012 million in the bank, after raising $313,619 and spending $159,924 during the last quarter of 2011. That is not her best quarterly fundraising report, but it's still stronger than other area congressional hopefuls.

U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, reported his best quarterly showing in some time, raising $307,126 during the last quarter. He spent $163,825 and reported $386,679 in the bank.

Wagner and Clay, who represents the 1st District, share one point of interest. Both are awaiting the FEC filing of U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, who has said he will run in another district if the Missouri courts fail to toss out the new congressional-district map that, in effect, eliminated his current 3rd District.

Carnahan is widely expected to challenge Clay in this summer's primary, although Democratic leaders want Carnahan to run instead in the 2nd District this fall.

UPDATE: Later Tuesday, Carnahan's summary sheets did arrive. He reports $448,771 in the bank, after raising $107,390 during the last quarter, and spending $52,154.

That means Carnahan has $62,000 more than Clay and $550,000 less than Wagner.

Such numbers may offer some persuasion for Carnahan's ultimate decision.

Meanwhile, Wagner lost one primary rival last week and gained a new one, when Ed Martin switched races to run for Missouri attorney general, and Dr. Randy Jotte, a former Webster Groves city councilman, jumped in.

Jotte's FEC summary shows that he has raised $160,053 -- including a $100,000 personal loan from himself. He reported spending $26,837, with $133,516 on hand.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.