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Koster Outraising, Outspending Likely 2016 GOP Rivals For Governor

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(Updated 5 p.m. Tues., April 15)

The latest campaign-finance reports show Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat running for governor in 2016, handily outpacing his potential Republican rivals when it comes to raising money – and banking it.

In reports due today, Koster had raised $539,364 so far this calendar year and had amassed just over $2 million in the bank.

That compares to $251,596 that state Auditor Tom Schweich reported raising since Jan. 1, with a bank account totaling $834,747 as of March 31.

Schweich is running for re-election this fall, but has no Democratic challenger, meaning that the bulk of his money is likely to be stored for an expected gubernatorial bid in 2016. Schweich has yet to announce his intentions.

But Schweich has been outraised lately by a fellow Republican who already has announced her designs on the Governor's Mansion: former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway.  

Her report, filed today, showed that she had raised $307,975 during the past three months, and banked almost all of it: $301,612.

Mo. Attorney General Chris Koster.
Credit (Official Portrait, Missouri Attorney General's office)
Chris Koster

The tallies for Schweich and Hanaway each reflect a few huge donations.  The reports include the $100,000 that Schweich received in January from St. Louis businessman Sam Fox,  $100,000 that Hanaway received from Club For Growth, a fiscally conservative group largely funded in Missouri by financier Rex Sinquefield, and $50,000 that she collected directly from Sinqefield. Hanaway's donations were both received on March 31, the last day of the reporting period.

In Koster's case, about a third of his donations came from labor unions, and another sizable amount came from the health care industry, including several insurance companies.

Schweich allies are questioning Hanaway’s low spending -- $6,363 for the quarter, compared to Schweich’s campaign expenditures of  $78,958.  Hanaway has yet to announce any major hires of campaign staff, other than a fundraising operation; Schweich's allies contend she may be holding off on paying bills.

In any case, both Republicans were outspent by Koster, who reported spending $129,529 so far this year on his campaign activities, which include a money-raising operation and a campaign spokesperson. But as long as he continues to outraise his opponents, Koster may not be too worried about his fatter payouts.

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.