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Missouri Senate candidates raise millions in run-up to August primary

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

The main contenders to succeed Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt are stocking up funds for the state’s wide-open August primary.

Based on campaign finance data from the beginning of January to the end of March, Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz added the most to his campaign account. That’s because the Sullivan Republican put another $1 million of his own money toward his election effort.

Not counting self-funding, Democrat Lucas Kunce raised the most money during the quarter — around $850,000. After spending more than $710,000, the Jefferson City native has about $942,000 in cash on hand. Because Democratic Senate contender Trudy Busch Valentine entered the contest late in the fundraising quarter, she didn’t file a campaign finance report.

Among the 21 Republicans who are seeking to replace Blunt, U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler brought in the most non-self-funding donations into her candidate account, with more than $497,000. That was more than Attorney General Eric Schmitt (about $480,000 raised), former Gov. Eric Greitens (roughly $378,000), Congressman Billy Long (about $215,000), Schatz (around $90,000 without his $1 million of self-funding) and attorney Mark McCloskey (more than $70,000).

Schatz currently has the most money on hand with about $2.1 million, followed by Hartzler ($1.52 million), Schmitt ($1.3 million), Long (around $500,000), Greitens (more than $345,162) and McCloskey (a little more than $38,000). All of the major candidates have some sort of debt, including more than $2 million for Schatz, $250,000 for Long and more than $145,000 for Greitens.

But in many respects, the candidate fundraising totals don’t tell the entire story — because they don’t include political action committees that have been raising and spending money.

Schmitt’s Save Missouri Values PAC, for instance, raised more than $1.8 million during the fundraising quarter — and has more than $3.3 million of cash on hand after spending close to $900,000. Americans for Prosperity spent around $800,000 to boost Schmitt’s campaign.

Greitens’ Team PAC has nearly $1.7 million in the bank after spending more than $700,000. Hartzler has a joint political action committee with Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley called Show Me Strong PAC that raised about $14,000 — and spent all but $75 during the fundraising quarter.

Missouri’s primary is slated for Aug. 2.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.