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Koster reports more than $5 million in the bank, outpacing all Republicans

dleafy | sxc.hu

(Updated 12:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 16,  with additional candidate filings)

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster continues to hold a huge financial edge over all of his Republican rivals for governor next year.

Koster, a Democrat with no major opposition from his own party, has banked more than $5 million, according to his latest campaign-finance report filed Thursday.

His bank account is more than twice as fat as that of the top-raising Republican seeking the job, former Navy Seal Eric Greitens., who reported $2.3 million.

In fact, Koster has raised and accumulated more money than all of the GOP contenders, combined.

Koster raised  more than $1.5 million just in the past three months, slightly ahead of Greitens’ impressive money-raising tally of $1.4 million.

Attorney General Chris Koster delivered the strongest attack against Republicans at the Truman Dinner, the Democratic Party's largest fundraiser.
Credit Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio
Chris Koster

But the result is that Koster fattened his already hefty financial lead, when it comes to money in the bank.  That figure is most important, since the candidates will need it largely to pay for ads next year. At this stage of their campaigns, the smartest candidates raise as much money as they can -- and try to avoid spending it.

Author Eric Greitens talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on March 16, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Credit Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis Public Radio
Eric Greitens

Former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway reports $1.5 million on hand, after raising only $175,000 during the past three months.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has just over $275,000 in the bank, after collecting $298,950 during the quarter. On the surface, that's his best showing in some time. But in fact, close to half of that money was a transfer from an older Kinder campaign committee.

Former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway reports $1.5 million on hand, but only raised $175,000 during the past three months.

Newly announced GOP candidate John Brunner reported just over $256,000 in the bank. But many expect him to repeat his actions during his unsuccessful  2012 bid for the U.S. Senate, when Brunner poured millions of dollars of his own money into his campaign.

Another Republican contender for governor, state Sen. Bob Dixon of Springfield, reported $82,548 in the bank.

The latest campaign reports only cover the period through September 30.  Most of Koster's major donations have come from unions. This latest report includes $300,000 he received on Sept. 30 from the political action committee of the Eastern Missouri Laborers' union.

Greitens' biggest donations have come from financiers in New York, California and elsewhere.

Danforth endorses Kinder

Meanwhile, Kinder's smaller warchest -- compared to many of his fellow Republicans -- may get a boost from his endorsement Thursday by former U.S. Sen. John C. Danforth.

John C. Danforth
Credit Washington University
Former Sen. John Danforth

Danforth said in an interview Thursday that he has sent a donation to Kinder, who he views as the strongest GOP contender for governor. “I have a high regard for Peter and I also think that he is a person who understands politics," Danforth said. "He is a person who understands how to work with the political system, which now is so broken down.”

Danforth previously had been a strong supporter of state Auditor Tom Schweich's bid for governor, and had been devastated by Schweich's suicide in February, just a month after his campaign kickoff.

Hawley outpaces Schaefer in recent money-raising

Danforth also made news this week by endorsing law professor Josh Hawley in the 2016 Republican primary contest for Missouri attorney general.  Hawley, on leave from the University of Missouri-Columbia,  is competing against state Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, who Danforth had endorsed in earlier contests.

Schaefer holds a roughly two-to-one edge over Hawley in money in the bank. Schaefer reports almost $1.5 million on hand, compared to Hawley’s $717,975.  But Hawley outraised Schaefer by about five-to-one during the last quarter. Hawley collected $756,977, compared to Schaefer’s $167,802.

In the Democratic contest for attorney general, St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman  reported about $1.06 million in the bank, giving him a huge edge over the $151,160 reported by former Cass County prosecutor Teresa Hensley.

Among other notable campaign finance filings:

  • State Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, reports close to $2 million in the bank for his GOP bid for state treasurer;
  • St. Louis lawyer Jay Ashcroft reports $88,655 on hand for his Republican campaign for Missouri secretary of state.
  • Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat who isn't running for anything in 2016, raised close to $71,000 during the past three months, and now reports $202,573 in the bank.

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