U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is expected to have 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.
McCaskill provided St. Louis Public Radio with a requested copy of her official summary sheets filed with the Federal Election Commission. Hawley declined to provide copies of his report, which may not be displayed on the FEC’s site for days. That’s because of the complicated filing procedure for Senate candidates.
McCaskill, who is seeking her third term, collected just under $4 million since Jan. 1. That’s one of the largest tallies in the country among Democratic members of Congress.
Hawley is not expected to match that amount. His last campaign-finance report, filed in late January, showed the attorney general with $1.2 million in the bank. His new report would include money received at his March fundraising event in Frontenac featuring President Donald Trump.
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.
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.
Their latest campaign-finance numbers come as both candidates and their allies ramp up their attacks.
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.