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Hawley has slight financial advantage over McCaskill in Senate contest

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

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is heading into the final stretch of his Republican U.S. Senate bid with slightly more cash on hand than Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.

In their latest campaign-finance reports, Hawley reported $3.53 million in the bank, compared to $3.19 million for McCaskill, who is seeking her third term.

McCaskill dramatically outraised Hawley during the past three months, raising $7.8 million to his $3.2 million. She also has outspent him as well: almost $11.3 million to his $1.99 million.

Much of that spending is for TV ads, which are swamping the state’s airwaves.

Although McCaskill’s money-raising is among the best among Senate Democrats, Hawley’s last-minute edge could give him an advantage on what he airs on TV during the final weeks.

Polls continue to show their race neck and neck.

Outside spending skyrockets

Outside groups are spending far more than either candidate. The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics’ latest tally shows that just over $52 million has been spent by outside groups in Missouri’s U.S. Senate contest, which could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate next January.

Of that $52 million, about $27 million has been spent on ads attacking McCaskill. Hawley has been the target of about $21 million in attack ads. The rest of the money was spent on ads praising either candidate.

The $52 million excludes money spent by so-called “dark money’’ groups, which do not have to identify their donors.

Huge Democratic edge in state auditor contest

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has amassed a huge cash advantage over her Republican rival, Saundra McDowell.

Campaign finance reports filed today show that Galloway – a Democrat – has more than $1.3 million in the bank. That compares to just over $26,000 for McDowell.

Galloway is seeking her first full term; she was appointed to the post in 2015 after Republican Tom Schweich’s suicide.

She is spending heavily on TV ads, while McDowell so far does not have enough money to follow suit.

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter:@jmannies

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