In Race for Missouri Governor, Democrat Has Big Fundraising Lead Over Republican

by | September 2, 2016

By Kurt Erickson

The Democrat seeking to become Missouri's next governor has nearly three times the amount of cash in his campaign account than his Republican rival.

Attorney General Chris Koster, who is seeking to keep the executive branch in Democratic hands after two-term Gov. Jay Nixon leaves office in January, reported having $9.4 million on hand as of Aug. 27.

That compares to the $3.2 million Republican Eric Greitens reported Thursday heading toward the Nov. 8 election.

Reports filed Thursday also show the money race in down ballot races for statewide office, including treasurer, secretary of state and attorney general.

Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, emerged from a crowded primary race against three opponents,, while Koster largely coasted through the Aug. 2 primary election with little competition.

"We're proud of the support we've received from across the political spectrum. The attorney general will continue to promote his plans to create good-paying jobs in every corner of the state, increase education funding, and invest in Missouri's healthcare system by bringing people together to get things done," Koster campaign manager Andrew Whalen said Thursday.

According to reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission, Koster, 52, raised over $2 million in the 30-day period after the election, compared to the $4.6 million raised by Greitens, 42.

Show me the money: Track campaign finance in Missouri

Greitens' biggest donor was the Republican Governor's Association, which funneled $3.5 million into his campaign to help him restock his account after the bruising primary season. In all, the four GOP candidates spent an estimated $22 million trying to win the nomination.

Koster, by comparison, raised much of his money from smaller donors, although he did receive over $1 million from labor unions, including the American Federation of State, County and  Municipal Employees and the National Education Association.

Koster also spent more than Greitens in the reporting period, writing checks totaling $3.4 million for advertising and other expenses. Greitens spent $1.9 million.

Greitens' campaign did not immediately return messages seeking comment Thursday.

In the race for treasurer, Democrat Judy Baker of Columbia trails Republican Sen. Eric Schmitt of Glendale by a wide margin. Schmitt has $2.5 million, compared to Baker's $258,331.

Republican attorney general candidate Josh Hawley, a University of Missouri law professor, reported $1.1 million, compared to $457,792 for former Cass County prosecutor Teresa Hensley, who beat St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman in the Democratic primary.

Republican secretary of state candidate Jay Ashcroft reported $71,025 in his account as of last week. His Democratic opponent, former KMOV television anchor Robin Smith of Eureka had $314,090 on hand.

In the raise for lieutenant governor, Democrat Russ Carnahan of St. Louis, a former congressman, had $508,801 in his account. A report for Republican candidate, Sen. Mike Parson of Bolivar, was not immediately available Thursday.

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