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2024 April Statewide Tip-Sheet

‘24 Statewide Races 

Governor: Primary: TOSS UP – General: LIKELY REPUBLICAN 

The race for Governor is a three-way battle in the race with Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe, Senator Bill Eigel, and Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft all in for the nomination.
There would have to be something of a political earthquake in order for the Democrats to be competitive, much less win this race but it’s not impossible.

Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe
Lt. Governor Kehoe has been running as hard as anyone possibly run while racking up every endorsement available this far out. He has put together the money advantage and if you can possibly win a statewide primary by meeting enough people he is determined to do it.
On the other hand, can you personally pry enough votes away from a legacy name? This race will determine that.
Maybe the biggest development of the year in this race was Kehoe obtaining the services of Axiom Strategies. Personally, I never thought that Roe would end up working for Kehoe, but Mike Kehoe knows how to make friends, and if I had to guess somewhere in there is a former Savanahian with a gravely baritone voice helping make peace.
The bottom line is that if your going to track down a guy with a 30-point name ID advantage your gonna have to attack him, and there is no better firm in Missouri and probably the entire country to do that than Axiom. 

Total Raised this Cycle: $1,225,659
Cash on Hand: $819,906
American Dream PAC
Cash on Hand: $2,526,775
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $3,346,681

Senator Bill Eigel
Senator Eigel is running a literal grassroots campaign, but it’s a modern grassroots campaign that adds the element of small-dollar fundraising that has been overwhelmingly successful. There is a cost to beginning to build that type of donor file, but once it starts to bear fruit then it starts to pay for itself and several politicians have proven it can build a mammoth fundraising base.
There is a typical trail to Governor and that is to first hold a statewide office and then use that platform to run for Governor. However, times are changing and Senator Eigel has never been one to follow the norms.
What he is attempting is a new approach so it’s challenging to know what the odds are on it. My best guess today is that he will have to be able to show well in an old-fashioned poll to be able to raise the big money to really compete in a Governor’s race.
However, the big question is his commitment to staying in this race. On one hand, if he was to pivot to say Secretary of State then his growing small-dollar fundraising base would be a huge advantage and he probably starts as the front runner.
On the other, he has been the only one attacking the frontrunner Jay Ashcroft. Why would he be unleashing blister attacks, that are landing by the way, if he was going to pivot and try to be on a ticket with him.
The bottom line is Bill Eigel knows how to attack, and knows how to fire up the right wing on the internet. Does he take this shot at Governor or a better shot at another office, I’ll say he sticks here. Bill is a different-turned guy. He can walk away, and I think he is planning on going all in or going home. 

Total Raised this Cycle: $235,636
Cash on Hand: $164,604
Believe in Life and Liberty (BILL) PAC
Cash on Hand: $417,505

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft
Jay Ashcroft begins the race with a huge advantage in name ID that is reflected in any of the early polls. His isn’t just name ID though as he has ran and won big time twice statewide and the reason for that name ID, the former US Attorney General is still out doing speaking engagements on his behalf.
He waited until this month to formally announce because as the front-runner he could. However, it was time. Senator Eigel’s attacks were evidenced by his withdrawal from the ERIC voting system. There is a value to having that camping infrastructure up and going to hit back, and now he does. I understand they have Roe Strategic, an out-of-state firm, and Victory working on the race. He did receive a $12,500 check from Senator Nick Schroer’s 1776 PAC.
If you want to be someone in this race you want to be Ashcroft, but there is one issue. Since his big quarter last year, the fundraising has slowed, by a large margin.
The bottom line is that he can run a traditional front-runner race for another year and likely maintain his lead in the polls. However, a traditional front-runner campaign doesn’t raise $1,125 a quarter or $15,000 in the PAC. It raises a lot of money and does it every quarter. The July report will be telling to see if the fundraising picks up now that he is officially in the race. 

Total Raised this Cycle: $307,626.
Cash on Hand: $ 458,060
Committee for Liberty PAC
Cash on Hand: $1,308,626
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $1,766,686

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade
While she hasn’t announced, House Minority Leader Crystal Quade is the best candidate on the Democrat’s bench that could run this race and hold the line for the party. Further, even if she doesn’t win it wouldn’t hurt her standing. The race presents an opportunity, but what kind of opportunity?
What it might present for democrats is a chance to highlight an up-and-coming leader. Kinda like the ‘88 U.S. Senate race presented for democrats when a certain Jeremiah W. “Jay” Nixon first ran statewide. While he only got 32% of the vote, he would go on to get more votes than anyone in Missouri history over the course of his storied career.
Many Greene County democrats are hopeful that she will ultimately take on the SD30 race in ‘26, but a run for governor in ‘24 might present an opportunity for her to build her credibility in Springfield and build her donor base nationwide.
If she doesn’t run then it will get into either a self-funder wildcard or some candidates who will have a very very hard time putting together even a million dollars.
She is talented, has built a house democratic political operation from scratch, and has the hunger for it. It seems like she is heading towards her first statewide race, I’d reckon it won’t be her last.

Total Raised this Cycle: $11,677
Cash on Hand: $68,565
Cash on Hand: $33,596


House Speaker Dean Plocher
He jumped into the race just before Statewide Lincoln Day and has the ability to raise tons of money and a network of house members around the state he has served with.
Plocher has a unique ability to be from the St. Louis area, but he will have a great deal of support from the agriculture community. Further, he looks like he was sent from central casting as to what a politician should look like. He is an A player and a top contender.
However, like any candidate, he will have to navigate some issues on his path up the ladder. First of all, he needs to find a way to stay on the good side of the Realtors after the initiative petition fight. Second, rarely does a speaker run statewide, and recently with Gaw and Hanaway, they have been unsuccessful. It is probably because the job is so difficult they cannot get fully in campaign mode while their competition can focus on the race.
The bottom line is that Dean Plocher is a top-tier candidate, but with a top-tier opponent, he is going to have to focus on the race to win it. 

Total Raised this Cycle: $7,818
Cash on Hand: $475,851
Missouri United PAC
Cash on Hand: $765,307.04
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $1,241,158

Senator Holly Rehder
She isn’t officially in the race, but she seems likely to enter the race this quarter. She has tons of political talent, can fundraise with anyone, and has connections to land the large checks that it takes to sustain a down-ballot race.
It hasn’t always been the case but after Trump’s run in 2016, SEMO is now a pretty good place to run from since now nearly every vote in the primaries is now cast in the Republican primary.
Her rollout will be interesting, but maybe more telling will be the checks that accompany it. 

Total Raised this Cycle: $12,738.09
Cash on Hand: $164,977.72
Southern Drawl PAC
Cash on Hand: 50,877.84

Attorney General: SAFE REPUBLICAN

Attorney General Andrew Bailey
Andrew Bailey has done nearly everything a Republican primary voter could have asked of him since taking office. He drew hate from all the people he was hoping for over his transgender regulations, and to top it off is suing to forcibly remove Kim Gardner from office.
He is a legitimate war hero and will have the backing of Governor Parson and all of his top supporters. That was shown with an impressive 1st quarter.
He does need to get his campaign operation up and running. There hasn’t been a lot to attack him over yet, but inevitably that day will come and he is going to need his operation up and running to define him and to defend him.
The bottom line is Bailey is doing everything he can from the official side, and the fundraising side, but he probably does need to invest in his campaign operation. Either way, if he removes Kim Gardner then he will be the front-runner and Scharf will have to tear him down to win. 

Total Raised this Cycle: $305,375.27
Cash on Hand: $293,567.80
Liberty and Justice PAC
Cash on Hand: $710,983.66
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $1,004,550

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Scharf
Will Scharf is brilliant. His resume has some pluses and some minuses. He is a former U.S. Attorney. He was hired under Trump but worked for a year under Biden which you assume he will get hit for. Then he will hit Bailey for working for Koster in the Missouri A.G.’s office.  However, overall that will be a solid plus.
He worked in the Greitens administration. There are some folks who will love him for that and some who won’t but that will likely be a push. He did work on the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court which is something he can legitimately tout and will go over well with Republicans.
However, those things alone probably wouldn’t warrant top-tier status. The reason he is a top-tier contender is money. He has family wealth that allows him to probably spend a near unlimited amount of money on the race, and he has a powerful network of connections in Washington D.C. he is already calling on in big ways.
He landed the Club for Growth endorsement which typically comes with an ad buy but as folks seen in the Rick Brattin for Congress race not always a big one.
The bottom line is that if this race were to be settled by Missourians with Missouri money Scharf would be a decided underdog, but that ain’t real. Scharf can combine his family’s wealth with his connections in Washington to propel him to top-tier contender status. The question will be even with those advantages can he connect with Missourians? Will is brilliant, he will learn the words, but can he hear the music?

Total Raised this Cycle: $107,620.37
Cash on Hand: $874,971.59
Defend Missouri PAC
Cash on Hand:575,000.00
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $1,449,971

Elad Gross
Gross is an attorney who ran and lost in the primary in 2020. He is a livewire who works at campaigning and organizing 24/7. He will organize the hell out of the Democrats around the state, and travel everywhere. To be honest, if you’re from outstate, you wouldn’t think you would like him all that much. However, when you get to meet him, his energy wins you over.
The bottom line: When the Democratic primary is this small, it is very hard to win a primary as a white, heterosexual, male, and if you do then it’s damn near impossible to win a general election without raising money. He has his work cut out for him, but I doubt he minds. 

Total Raised this Cycle: $28,991.00
Cash on Hand: $28,012.05
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $28,012.05 

State Representative Sarah Unsicker
Representative Unsicker is a policy person through and through. She is also just as committed to the causes she takes on. She is a liberal champion of several causes and has a distinct advantage in the primary being a woman and holding a previously elected office.
The bottom line: If the field stays as just her and Elad then she is the favorite by virtue of being a woman in the Democratic primary. However, if she is going to compete in November she is going to have to raise money and a lot of it. 

Total Raised this Cycle: $9,315.00
Cash on Hand: $13,327.88
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $13,327.88 

Secretary of State: SAFE REPUBLICAN 

Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller
The only officially announced candidate for Secretary of State is a name very familiar to those in the capitol, former Speaker Pro Tem and candidate for Secretary of State in 2012. Most folks believe if Sarah Steelman were the nominee for U.S. Senate in ‘12 instead of Todd Akin she would have won that race and Schoeller would have certainly won and might be Governor today.
He is a solid religious conservative, but who knows if that still carries weight in the party of Trump? He will have a solid southwest Missouri base, but will he have it all to himself?
Shane is a veteran campaigner with contacts all around the state.
The bottom line will come down to if he is the only candidate from southwest Missouri or even Greene County, and can he put together a million dollars. If he can then he will be in the top tier next summer, and maybe the favorite. 

Total Raised this Cycle: $34,532
Cash on Hand: $28,369
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $28,369.00

Senator Denny Hoskins
He has said he is running for statewide office in 2024, but he hasn’t said for what. On This Week in Missouri Politics he said he was leaning toward Secretary of State. Senator Hoskins is a veteran with a base of conservative connections through the work of the conservative caucus.
Hoskins also starts off with $300,000 in the bank and another session in which he is one of the most likely senators to stand up and kill a bill to raise money before.
The bottom line is after session it will become clear whether or not Denny really wants to do this? If he does and will commit himself to raising the money this summer then he is a top contender. 

Total Raised this Cycle: $0
Cash on Hand: $96,539.14
Old Drum Conservative PAC
Cash on Hand: $107,219.43

Senator Caleb Rowden
Senate President Rowden is a proven election winner. He has the most competitive race wins under his belt of anyone currently in Missouri politics. Can he keep that streak up in a statewide race?
He hasn’t officially announced, but I’ve personally spoke to more than one donor who believes that if he does he will put a million dollars in the bank. There will be those who want to pick apart his voting record, but that will be the case with anyone on this list with an actual voting record.
Another factor is that Senate Pro Tems rarely run for statewide office. The job is too damn taxing and typically when they are done the last thing they wanna sign up for is more politics. After Kinder and Gibbons, the only person from senate leadership to run is Kehoe, and without historical drama, he wouldn’t be in elected office today.
The bottom line is if Caleb decides to jump into this race then he will be the front runner, and a month later if he does in fact bank that million then he will be the considerable front runner. However, the question will be, did all the hits he took from the conservative caucus take a toll on him that another rival can exploit. 

Total Raised this Cycle: $150,275
Cash on Hand: $81,483
Majority Forward PAC
Cash on Hand: $171,245

Greene County Commissioner John C Russell
The family name is legendary in Missouri politics. He has the connections to perhaps skip the  legislature and attempt to vault into statewide office. The question is does he want to?
He has been rumored to be exploring the Secretary of State’s race, and if he does that really hurts Schoellner, and can John C still compete sharing his base with another candidate?

Total Raised this Cycle: N/A
Cash on Hand: $n/a
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $2,451.73 

State Treasurer: SAFE REPUBLICAN

State Treasurer Vivek Malek
Huge quarter for Vivek Malek he is crushing it on the fundraising circuit. He has also done a great job of winning over Republicans on the Lincoln Day circuit. His personality emanates a kindness that really draws people in.
He also has an advantage in a national Indian-American network of donors who have propelled candidates such as Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal in the past.
One other feather in his cap is the ol’ Polk County Sheriff. You’d be surprised how many doors open when you tell them you have been appointed by Mike Parson.
The bottom line is that he will face attacks for his heritage, can he effectively rebut them, or raise so much money that he drowns them out? If Bobby Jindal could win in Louisiana and Nikki could win in South Carolina, I suspect Missouri might be ready to elect an Indian. As of April ‘23, I like his chances. 

Total Raised this Cycle: $506,599.00
Cash on Hand: $468,285.82
American Promise PAC
Cash on Hand: $699,981.00
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $1,168,266

House Budget Chairman Cody Smith
The House budget chairman hasn’t officially announced it seems like he is leaning towards a race. He has a base in southwest Missouri to build from, he can raise money all summer and fall as he still has one more budget, he has a good relationship with Axiom who I assume he can hire for the race, and he is a genuinely nice guy who really doesn’t have enemies. Which is pretty remarkable for a five-year budget chair.
Also, there is a pretty well-laid-out campaign plan of using your time as house budget chair to run for State Treasurer.
The bottom line is that candidly he has an advantage in this race with his name, and while it’s very very hard to raise money for State Treasurer he can raise money off next year’s budget. The question is even if he raises two million is that gonna be enough to compete with a candidate who could raise three or four?

Total Raised this Cycle: $0.00
Cash on Hand: $209,163.35
Ozark Gateway Leadership PAC
Cash on Hand:$76,249.72