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Huge Sinquefield Donation Draws Blast From Camp Of GOP Rival Schweich

Rex Sinquefield
Courtesy of Rex Sinquefield's website

Former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway got $750,000 this week from wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield for her 2016 campaign for governor. That’s more than 10 times what she raised during the past three months.

That huge donation was condemned late Wednesday by her potential rival, state Auditor Tom Schweich, a fellow Republican. His campaign accused Hanaway of being “dependent on one man and his self-proclaimed ‘political army.’ “

“Under no circumstances should Hanaway be the nominee of the Republican Party for governor in 2016,” Schweich’s campaign advisor Nathan Adams said in a statement. “And under no circumstances will we sit idly by while one person -- who has already had his cronies sue the auditor's office more than 10 times -- appears to be attempting to buy Missouri government."

That condemnation overshadowed most of the other news in Wednesday’s required campaign-finance filings with the Missouri Ethics Commission. The reports cover the three months ending Sept. 30, so Hanaway’s report – which showed her raising less than $68,000 – didn’t include Sinquefield’s largesse.

Sinquefield earlier had given her $50,000. Hanaway’s cash on hand in her report totaled $424,017, excluding Sinquefield’s huge check.

Catherine Hanaway 2014
Credit Provided by Hanaway
Catherine Hanaway

“I am grateful to all those who have invested in my campaign,” said Hanaway in a statement. “Mr. Sinquefield’s support is a tremendous boost to our fundraising efforts.  Missouri is being left behind and economic reform is a must if Missouri wants to win the competition for quality jobs.  I am thankful that Mr. Sinquefield supports the pro-growth agenda I have been working on since I was first elected to public office in 1998.  After Rex moved back to Missouri in 2005, he began advocating reforms for which I have fought for years.  With his help and help from thousands of other Missourians, we can create the economic growth Missouri needs to fund quality schools, build safer highways and deliver quality health care.”

Schweich – who is running for re-election Nov.4 – reported raising about $239,100 during the past three months, with $1.2 million in the bank as of Sept. 30. He so far has not announced a decision about his campaign plans for 2016.

The third Republican considering a 2016 gubernatorial bid, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, reported raising $347,810 during the quarter and now has $1.04 million in the bank.

Meanwhile, the sole announced Democrat for governor – Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster – raised more than all of the three Republicans combined (excluding Sinquefield’s money). Koster reported raising $516,090 since July 1 and now has $2.6 million in the bank.

Koster previously has received money from Sinquefield, but nothing on the magnitude of what the financier gave to Hanaway.

Sinquefield has generated controversy lately over his various donations to independent campaign groups that share his belief in fewer regulations and lower taxes. He wants to do away with the state income tax.

Hanaway wasn't the only candidate this week to collect a huge sum from Sinquefield. State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, received a $250,000 donation from the financier for his 2016 bid for Missouri attorney general.

Kander, Kinder, Nixon

Aside from Koster and Schweich, most of the state's other current statewide officals haven't been too active raising money.

Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat who's expected to run for re-election in 2016, has been the most successful of the remaining incumbents. He reported collecting $178,412 during the past three months, and has accumulated $600,966 in the bank.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican serving a third term, raised only $41,825 during the last quarter, and has $57,780 in the bank.

Gov. Jay Nixon, who is serving his second term and cannot seek re-election, reported raising $51,511 since July 1. Nixon has $348,594 in the bank.

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel filed his report earlier.

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.