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McCaskill, Stenger and Hawley among Missouri's top money-raisers

Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley and Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill
Durrie Bouscaren & Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated at 12:30 p.m. April 19 with Hawley's campaign-finance numbers)  U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill has  widened her financial lead over her best-known GOP opponent, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, which likely will prompt more allied Republican groups to spend money on his behalf.

The Senate candidates’ latest campaign-finance filings, which were due at midnight Sunday, show that McCaskill has just over $11.5 million in the bank. That compares to $2.13 million for  Hawley.  In both cases, the candidates' totals include aid from other political-party committees, as well as individual donations.

Hawley’s money also includes his share of the donations collected during President Donald Trump’s visit to the St. Louis area in March.

Although McCaskill has amassed five times as much in the bank, Hawley’s campaign contended that he wasthe top Republican U.S. Senate challenger in the country for dollars raised.”

McCaskill, who is seeking her third term, has collected just under $4 million since Jan. 1. That’s one of the largest tallies in the country among Democratic members of Congress.

McCaskill provided St. Louis Public Radio late last week with a requested copy of her official summary sheets filed with the Federal Election Commission. Hawley initially declined to do so, but forwarded his summary sheets on Thursday, four days after they were filed.  Hawley's report has yet to be displayed on the FEC’s site, reflecting the complicated filing procedure for Senate candidates. McCaskill's report is available.

Hawley has raised $1.5 million since January 1. That includes aid from other GOP committees, as well as just over $1 million in individual donations.

Missouri’s Senate contest is among the nation’s most closely watched, and could determine which party controls that chamber as of January 2019.

Money flowing freely in county executive race

Aside from the Senate hopefuls, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger appears to have raised – and spent – more money than anyone else in the state running for a state or local office this year.

Stenger’s latest campaign-finance report, filed Monday, shows him with just under $2.4 million in the bank, after spending close to $500,000 in the last couple of months. 

A St. Louis Public Radio file photo of St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.
Credit File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger

Mark Mantovani, who is challenging Stenger in the Democratic primary, reported $821,000 in the bank. Much of it has come from the businessman’s own pocket. Mantovani’s report shows that he has donated at least $1 million to his campaign. That includes $250,000 he gave on March 31, the last day of the filing period.

Although their primary contest is in August, Mantovani and Stenger already have spent close to $1 million combined. A large chunk of that money appears to be for TV ads that have been on the air for weeks.

The county executive contest has no limits on the size of donations, because local contests are not covered by the state campaign-donation restrictions imposed by Amendment 2.

Among Monday’s other notable financial filings:

  • Embattled Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens raised less than $32,000 since Jan. 1, although the Republican still has well over $2 million in the bank. It’s unclear if he and his allies are still collecting money for his nonprofit group, which does not have to disclose its donors or finances.
  • State Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat seeking re-election this fall, reported one of her best money-raising quarters to date, and now has more than $1 million in the bank. One of her Republican rivals, St. Louis lawyer David Wasinger, is not far behind, with just over $745.000. State Rep. Paul Curtman, a Republican from Franklin County, reported just over $41,000.
  • Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican who would replace Greitens if he is forced out, raised only $11,000 so far this year. Parson has less than $45,000 in the bank.

McCaskill, Hawley heighten attacks

McCaskill’s report shows that the bulk of the senator’s new money – $3.5 million – came from direct donations. Individuals can give no more than $2,700 per election to U.S. Senate candidates. An additional $404,000 was raised by joint-fundraising committees set up with other Democratic officials or committees.

In Hawley's case, he reported raising $1.06 million from individuals, collecting just over $200,000 from political groups, and receiving another $206,000 from joint-fundraising committees.

Their latest campaign-finance numbers come as both candidates and their allies ramp up their attacks.

Hawley's campaign said that McCaskill's numbers reflect her close ties to Hollywood liberals, trial lawyers and lobbyists.

The Missouri Democratic Party unveiled a new ad Monday that accuses Hawley of failing to properly investigate Greitens. Meanwhile, Hawley fired off a statement asking McCaskill if she wants to repeal the federal tax cuts that she opposed when the legislation was passed in December.

And at least one independent GOP group also went on the attack Monday, accusing the senator of being out of touch with average Missourians.

Hawley also filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission regarding his state campaign committee, which reported close to $1.1 million in the bank. That money cannot be used for his Senate bid because of stricter federal campaign-finance laws.

As a result, it’s no surprise that Hawley reported he had raised no money for his state campaign committee since January 1.

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.

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