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Blunt maintains campaign-finance edge over Kander

dleafy | sxc.hu

In a sign that Missouri’s U.S. Senate contest is really heating up, the two major candidates – Republican incumbent Roy Blunt and Democrat Jason Kander – released their latest campaign-finance documents almost three weeks early.

Blunt is continuing to outraise and outspend Kander, currently Missouri’s secretary of state. But the overall numbers fail to tell the whole story.

Blunt’s newest report, which isn’t due until Jan. 31, shows him with just over $5 million in the bank. That compares to almost $2.1 million for Kander. Both campaigns provided copies Wednesday of their official reports’ summary sheets to St. Louis Public Radio, which requires documentation before reporting  campaign-finance figures.

The candidates' willingness to share their latest tallies may reflect, in part, the heightened national interest in the contest. Several national news outlets rate Missouri's U.S. Senate contest as among the most competitive this year.

Since Oct. 1, Blunt collected $1.246 million, compared to $870,534 for Kander. But Blunt’s fundraising edge came primarily from political action committees, which donated $365,400 to his campaign, compared to only $75,000 that went to Kander.

Their contribution totals from individuals were close, with Blunt edging out Kander by only $62,000. 

Unlike Missouri candidates running for state or local office, the Senate candidates must comply with federal per-election donation limits of $2,700 for individual contributions and $5,000 from PACs. (State and local campaign-finance reports must be filed by Friday, Jan. 15.)

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt are the front runners for the Democratic and Republican nominations in the next Senate race.
Credit official photos
Jason Kander (left) and Roy Blunt

During the past three months, Blunt also has outspent Kander: $574,702 to $376,314. Blunt’s spending has slowed significantly since last summer, a sign that his campaign may be trying to reduce his “burn rate’’ – a nickname for early political spending – and put more money in the bank.

Kander’s quarterly spending was roughly the same throughout much of 2015.

Neither candidate reported receiving any money from their party’s organizations.  But a number of independent groups have been spending money on TV and radio ads on behalf of both men, which are not reflected in their campaign reports.

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