© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Money flows in, and out, in Missouri primary contests

Money gift
Via Flickr

With a week left to go, Missouri’s four Republican candidates for governor are engaging in a final money-raising – and spending – frenzy.

Just since July 1, the four – former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens, former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and businessman John Brunner – combined have raised almost $6 million and spent more than $10 million.

Most of that spending is for the mass of TV ads that are flooding Missouri homes.

The biggest news in the candidates’ final financial reports, filed Monday: Although Greitens has been the GOP contest’s top money-raiser and spending, he’s heading into the final week with slightly less money in the bank than Hanaway.

Hanaway reported $696,000 in the bank, thanks in part to additional money from wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield and the groups that he funds. She reported spending $1.9 million so far this month, and $4.7 million overall.

Greitens reported $628,238 in the bank, after spending $4.05 million this month and just over $8 million overall.

Greitens collected almost $2.5 million this month, most of it from an outside group called SEALS for Truth that has not identified its donors. The group’s $1.975 million donation to Greitens is the largest single campaign donation in Missouri history.

Republican activist Carl Bearden filed a formal complaint Friday with the Missouri Ethics Commission, questioning the legality of the contribution. But the commission said Monday that state law bars it from considering such a complaint so close to Tuesday’s primary and that it must be refiled after the primary.

Lt. Gov. Peter is heading into the final week with $255,638 in the bank, after spending $1.48 million this month and almost $2.5 million overall.

Businessman Brunner has spent $2.95 million this month and $6.9 million overall – much of it out of his own pocket. He reported entering the final week with just $75,743 in the bank. But that doesn’t appear to include another $1 million that he just donated late last week to his own campaign.

Meanwhile, the likely Democratic nominee – Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster – reported raising close to $1.2 million this month, and spending less than $500,000. He has spent $4.5 million overall and has $10.88 million in the bank.

Notable primary battles for other statewide offices

Attorney General

The spending, and money-raising, also continues to be significant for the four-way contest for attorney general.

The nasty GOP battle between state Sen. Kurt Schaefer and law professor Josh Hawley has been expensive. Both of them raised roughly $1.5 million this month.

Schaefer has raised $4.76 million overall, and spent $3.85 million so far – including just over $2 million this month. He reported just under $800,000 in the bank, not including just over $301,000 he received this week from Grow Missouri, a group wholly funded by Sinquefield.

Hawley reported raising $3.67 million overall and spending $2.67 million. He reported $970,717 in the bank.

On the Democratic side, St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman reported raising $1.48 million overall, and spending just over $1. 06 million overall – including $567,507 this month. Zimmerman reported $764,517 in the bank for the final week.

He has heavily outraised and outspent former Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley. She reported raising $548,285 overall, and has spent $473,091. She has only $44,681 in the bank.

Lieutenant governor

In the GOP contest for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Mike Parson reported raising $1.35 million overall, and spending $1.39 million. But he still has $346,657 in the bank, in part because of carryover money from earlier campaigns.

Kansas City lawyer Bev Randles has significantly outraised and outspent him. She reported raising $2.48 million and spending $2.37 million. Most of her money has come from Sinquefield. Randles reported only $80,485 in the bank.

On the Democratic side, former congressman Russ Carnahan reported raising $494,572 and spending only $136,541. He has $338,398 in the bank, which he likely is hoping that he doesn’t have to spend during the final week.

His opponent, state Rep. Tommie Pierson, reported raising just under $50,000 overall, spending $60,000, and has only $673 in the bank.

Secretary of State

State Sen. Will Kraus reported raising $870,687 overall, spending just over $1 million – most of it this month – with just $3,467 in the bank.

St. Louis lawyer Jay Ashcroft reported raising $824,787, spending $783,365, with $52,087 in the bank.

In St. Louis

Circuit Attorney

In the 10 days since candidates filed their quarterly campaign finance reporters, state Rep. Kimberly Gardner has surpassed Mary Pat Carl as the fundraising leader in the race to replace Jennifer Joyce as circuit attorney. Gardner was boosted by nearly $94,000 in in-kind contributions from the Safety and Justice Committee, a federal political action committee that as of its latest campaign finance report reported liberal billionaire George Soros as its only funder. According to news reports, the money helped fund a 30-second online advertisement.

Carl continues to be the most prolific fundraiser by conventional measures. In the 10 days since the July quarterly report, she brought in nearly $15,000, leaving her with nearly $149,000 on hand. Most of her expenses over those 10 days went to paid canvassers, though she also dropped $1,500 on a radio ad on Hot 104.1, an FM station playing hip hop and R&B. The ad features the voice of a woman whose family was affected by gun violence, and praises Carl for her dedication to the case.

Carl still has about $115,000 in debt. She loaned herself $100,000 at the start of the campaign.

Expect to see a lot of mailers from Patrick Hamacher in the next eight days. He made the biggest dent in his campaign account, spending nearly $50,000 on printing and postage. He also has two billboards up.

Steve Harmon, the fourth candidate in the race, did not have a report on the state Ethics site by 5:30 p.m. Monday.  He had previously reported raising more than $32,000 in the second quarter. Just about a third of that came from Maria Chapelle-Nadal, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay.


Two of the five Democratic candidates for sheriff — Jimmie Matthews and Johnnie Chester  — have pledged not to raise or spend more than $500 on their campaign. 

Joe Vaccaro, currently an alderman from mid-south St. Louis, leads the fundraising pack, with support from unions, businesses in his 23rd Ward, his colleagues on the boar, and other members of the city’s Democratic establishment infrastructure. As of the 8-day report, he’s sitting on $14,225, and brought in $12,655 between July 15 and July 23.

Vernon Betts, who narrowly lost a race for sheriff in 2012, had $2,569 on hand. He nearly matched Vaccaro in raising $12,180 during the reporting period. 

Charley “Big Will” Williams lags well behind the remaining candidates in fundraising. He has raised less than $5,000 since April, including a $300 loan to his campaign.

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