2016 Outlook: Momentum building

  

U.S. SENATE

Republicans

Senator Roy Blunt is running a strong re-election campaign led by Andy Blunt, and just completed his second tour of all 114 counties. He is as strong as any swing state senator can be, and with President Obama still in office, he is the front-runner.

Cash on Hand: $3,034,936

Campaign Manager: Andy Blunt

Democrats

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander surprised many in the Missouri political world when he announced his campaign in a powerful video kickoff. He is a top recruit for the Democrats nationally and his war experience makes this a legitimate race. Kander is unlikely to make any mistakes and outside of Governor Nixon is the Democrat’s best chance to pick up the seat.

Cash on Hand: $700,101

GOVERNOR

Republicans

State Senator Mike Parson. The former Sheriff of Polk County comes to the race with the ability to raise money, a statewide network of contacts from leading the successful Right to Farm campaign in 2014, and the only officially announced candidate from Republican primary vote rich southwest Missouri. He is a top contender.

Cash on Hand: $443,887.50

Former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway. Hanaway is moving her campaign forward following the death of her former primary opponent Tom Schweich. The aftermath of that death held the race stagnant for several weeks, but since she has began campaigning again and she is beginning to build on her strong statewide list of contacts, and she has more cash on hand than any announced candidates.

Cash on Hand: $1,249,706.48

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder. Kinder has started to run for governor several times over his lengthy career, but never made it. This may be one of his last opportunities to run, and if the field is divided enough ways he could be a favorite to win. His fundraising has lagged in recent cycles, but in the four or five way race he will be able to raise enough money to compete, and his name ID is simply through the roof. Kinder has a reputation as a man who doesn’t lose many races, and that may help in a crowded primary.

Cash on Hand: $56,673.27

State Senator Bob Dixon. He has cultivated a great deal of respect for his fairness and statesmanship during his time in the senate, sponsoring tough and bipartisan issues through the chamber, and would certainly be a candidate who would command a great deal of support in southwest Missouri. He isn’t in yet, but if he runs he likely makes Senator Parson’s path tougher, but if he can raise the money he will be competitive.

Cash on Hand: $ 102,121.52

Businessman John Brunner. He is making calls, and formed an exploratory committee, but hasn’t formally announced he is running. His fundraising has been robust with $100,000 in early contributions. He can also self-fund his race better than anyone on the radar right now. There are also many Republicans who have buyer’s remorse from 2012 when Brunner lost the primary to Akin. If he runs he will have the benefit of having run in ’12 and large list of conservative connections, and maybe best of all no voting record.

Cash on Hand: $285,000

Former Navy Seal Eric Greitens. The wild card in the race. He could be the next big thing in national republican politics or flame out as others who have never run before have. He ensured that he will have a solid campaign when he secured Victory Enterprises to run it, and he is showing he has the national contacts to raise the money. There are reports that he was recruited to run as a Democrat that are unlikely to be a problem, but there will be a more thorough vetting coming.

Cash on Hand: N/A

Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard. He hasn’t said he is interested in running for Governor in 2016 but the blunt speaking majority leader is the leading proponent of Right to Work and he scored a major victory on the issue this session. He has previously expressed interest in statewide office, and he could ride a wave of momentum in a primary.

Cash on Hand: $402,369.92

Democrats

Koster
Koster

Attorney General Chris Koster. He is the front-runner and you need to look no further than the long list of Republican candidates compared to his cleared primary to see the proof of it. If he played baseball he would be a five-tool player, and whoever wins the Republican primary will have to have a good Republican year to beat him. But of course, Obama will not be on the ballot in 2016, then again, President Bush wasn’t on the ballot either when the democrats had a good year in 2008.

Cash on Hand: $3,295,487.95

LT. GOVERNOR

Republicans

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder. Until he says he isn’t running for re-election he is the front-runner. He faced off against a well-funded Republican and well known Democrat in 2012 and defeated them both. No reason to think he can’t do it again in 2016. Kinder’s hold on this office is so strong, some Democrats have privately said they won’t seek the office until he steps down.

Cash on Hand: $56,673.27

Randles
Randles

Bev Randles. She is the former chair of the Missouri Club for Growth and an attorney from Kansas City. Perhaps more politically important is the fact that she has raised $1,000,000 in the largest political contribution in state history from Rex Sinquefield. She also has the support of former house speaker Tim Jones. She will be a formidable candidate.

Cash on Hand: $953,299.92

Kehoe
Kehoe

Senator Mike Kehoe. If Kinder runs for Governor, Kehoe would be a natural candidate to run. He has been a senator, has business experience, and a network of supporters aligned with several of the tough issues he has taken on in the senate. He would also have several senators ready to help him. Kehoe would be a major force and potential front-runner in any race he enters.

Cash on Hand: $71,373.26

Democrats

Businessman Barry Aycock. He could be the perfect Democratic statewide candidate. Aycock is an agribusiness man from rural Missouri with the potential to self-fund the race. He has no voting record and has a profile that could cut across partisan and demographic lines.

Cash on Hand: N/A

Former Congressman Russ Carnahan. It wouldn’t seem to be a logical step after being a member of congress, but he seems interested in returning to elective politics and he would be a top candidate based on name ID alone.

Cash on Hand: N/A

Holsman
Holsman

Senator Jason Holsman. The past two weeks in the senate have been an opportunity to shine for the Senator from Kansas City, and he endeavored to make himself known during the transfer debate. He would be extremely difficult to beat in a primary with his issue positions, and some feel would balance out a more centrist gubernatorial candidate.

Cash on Hand:  $107,580.42

Dr. Brad Bradshaw This doctor/lawyer combo has an impressive resume, entered the race and is committed to funding the effort. He has a charismatic personality, and if he is indeed willing to spend that money on the race you can’t argue that a candidate with his resources isn’t a serious contender.

Cash on Hand: $292,564.63

ATTORNEY GENERAL

Republicans

Senator Kurt Schaefer
Schaefer

Senator Kurt Schaefer. He is a winner, plain and simple. He has won two tough senate races in Boone County once defeating an incumbent senator. On top of that, there may be no Republican who enjoys a good fight the way the Chairman of Approps does. The Senator has complied strong credentials in the senate as a leading conservative. Republicans seem to be getting their acts together on clearing primaries for strong statewide candidates and Schaefer being the only announced candidate for Attorney General is proof of that.

Consultant: Barklage & Knodell

Cash on Hand: $1,326,971.20

Josh Hawley. He has been billed as the “Hobby Lobby lawyer” he has been traveling the state speaking to Republican groups stirring buzz about a possible candidacy. Hawley is a professor at the University of Missouri at Columbia. If he doesn’t run he would be a good candidate to run in Boone County if Caleb Jones or Caleb Rowden do not run for state senate. Either way, it would be surprising if Hawley didn’t have a future in Missouri politics.

Cash on Hand: N/A

Democrats

Sifton
Sifton

Senator Scott Sifton. Sifton has shined more than perhaps any other Democrat in the final two weeks of session. Normally the quiet, thoughtful lawyer, Sifton has emerged as a champion of Democrat’s RTW filibuster and subsequent retaliation on the floor. He led the charge on opposing the unemployment benefit cuts, and nearly brought the final RTW vote to its knees in a whirlwind of complex procedural challenges. He may have shined so brightly that some groups will want him to remain in the senate, but it would be hard to punish success.

Consultant: Show-Me Victories

Cash on Hand: $440,679.28

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman. He is off and running, challenging Sifton in the primary and has been focused on fundraising from multiple sources and traveling the state this quarter. It will be interesting to see the 2nd quarter numbers in this primary.

Cash on Hand: $797,924.74

TREASURER

Republicans

Schmitt
Schmitt

State Senator Eric Schmitt. Many speculated on what race the senator would enter, but when he made his decision to run for State Treasurer he has attacked the race on all fronts overwhelming potential challengers in fundraising and grass roots. He has compiled a rock solid conservative voting record in the senate while building up valuable name id in the state’s largest media market.

Consultant: Axiom Strategies, Barklage & Knodell

Cash on Hand: $1,713,355.43

Democrats

Pat Contreras A former member of the Obama administration from Kansas City he has served as a diplomat and is now seeking elective office. Many Democrats have embraced his candidacy as away to widen Latino issues and is seen as way to ensure the left wing is represented on the statewide ballot.

Cash on Hand: N/A

SECRETARY OF STATE

Republicans

Kraus
Kraus

State Senator Will Kraus. The senator with a war record as well as a legislative record of carrying several major bills from tax cuts to voter ID is a strong candidate for an office with no incumbent. Kraus will have the opportunity to fundraise as a senator who will be back for two years if he isn’t Secretary of State. Kraus also looks like a man sent straight from central casting for the role of “Republican candidate for office.” This will be the most watched primary after the Governor’s race in the state.

Consultant: Axiom Strategies

Cash on Hand: $452,247.39

Ashcroft
Ashcroft

Jay Ashcroft. Politics is in his blood as the son of former Governor, Senator, and United States Attorney General John Ashcroft. He starts with millions of dollars in name ID, and has run for state senate in 2014 in a tough St. Louis County district. He will be a tough opponent in the primary and in the 2014 general is an indication he will be tough in a general election as well.

Consultant: Victory Enterprises

Cash on Hand: $15,232.25

Democrats

Representative Jeremy LaFaver. He is one of the most politically savvy members of the Democratic caucus and has a feel for the progressive activist community. Add in his history of working with children and his vocal support for IT security, a bipartisan issue, and LaFaver could easily be re-elected, but has to be at least somewhat interested in the chatter that he could run now. Ironically, he is in a position similar to the representative he replaced in the house….Jason Kander who chose to take a chance on becoming a United States Senator in 2016.

Cash on Hand: $2,647.00

Others

Rep. Caleb Jones. The top choice of anyone not currently tagged to race on the Republican side. He can raise money, will likely have accomplished everything he cares deeply about in the House by 2016, and has a list of contacts that no one in the state can match. Jones is young, widely respected, and appears to have a natural gift for politicking. His cousin, the former speaker, choosing not to run in 2016 helps, and he would be a top choice.

Cash on Hand: $185,913.55

Callahan
Callahan

Former Senator Victor Callahan. Two things: 1. Over three-quarters of a million dollars in campaign funds available, and 2. He is the smartest politician on this list. As a conservative Democrat with the ability to raise money, he is an ideal general election candidate, and has a collection of extremely loyal allies around the state to call on.

Cash on Hand: $542,077.92

St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger. Probably more for the future, but if the ability to win grueling campaigns are the most important factor, then he should run for president, given the bitter, close, and brutal primary and general election he won in 2014.

Cash on Hand:  $108,848.06

Rep. Paul Curtman. 2016 may not be the year, but he is an up-and-coming politician who is developing the type of political network necessary to run statewide, and is looking more and more like a serious candidate for office all the time. Curtman’s time may not have come yet, but expect to see his name on a statewide ballot one day.

Cash on Hand: $39,336.90

Senator Tom Dempsey. He will leave state government in 2016 as a four-year Pro Tem of the senate and possibly as the most respected legislator of the term limits era. There is a great deal of speculation about GOP heavyweights wanting him to consider a congressional run if Congressman Luetkemeyer seeks another office, and there is always the temptation to look to replace Steve Ehlmann as St. Charles County Executive, but if he chose to run statewide, he would be a top shelf candidate.

Cash on Hand: $196,072.16

Longshots

Senator Gary Romine. He seems like he was born a statesman. There isn’t one part of this game that he isn’t good at. It probably just isn’t the right time, but as he continues in his senate career he will be one that is certainly mentioned for higher office.

Cash on Hand: $86,951.52

Hough
Hough

Rep. Lincoln Hough. He likely has little interest, and may find a future congressional race a better prospect but he is young, has a great rural resume, and – let’s be honest – can raise money…lots of money. Add in his ability to speak well off-the-cuff, being from Southwest Missouri and being able to raise money, he would be a strong candidate and, while the list of loyal allies may not be as long as some others, the ones on that list are very, very loyal.

Cash on Hand: $118,842.32

Former Rep. Judy Baker. She is still an ambitious, well-liked Democrat who is a good campaigner. She may want to run a race on her own terms and in 2016, there may be a full slate of candidates already, but plenty of Democrats would love more women to run in high-profile races, and running in a primary with two men might give her a distinct advantage.

Cash on Hand: N/A

Director of the Department of Labor Ryan McKenna. He has looked at statewide office before. He can raise money, and no one is closer to organized labor. Probably a question of whether he wants to leave his new job and the answer is likely no, but if that answer changed to yes, no Democrat could count on labor supporting anyone but him, and would likely be in trouble. Being from the pivotal Jefferson County would also be an asset to statewide Democrats looking to shore up credentials as a party with plenty of moderates.

Cash on Hand: $9,634.78

Those who have said they are out of the running:

Senator John Lamping, former Rep. John Wright, Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jean Peters Baker, Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, St. Louis City Treasurer Tishaura Jones, former Speaker of the House Tim Jones, Senator Doug Libla.