‘24 Statewide Races
Governor: Primary: TOSS UP – General: LIKELY REPUBLICAN
It looks like the field is set. A three way race for Governor on the republican side and a two way primary on the democrats side.
The early part of the race has been defined by Eigel and Ashcroft fighting, while Kehoe banks a significant fundraising lead. Sometimes politics makes sense because Ashcroft and Eigel are eyeing the same part of the electorate, and Kehoe will need a fundraising advantage to win.
For the democrats they are probably putting up their best political talent in Rep. Quade for her initial foray into statewide politics, but first she will have to contend with Springfield businessman Mike Hamra. Of course the state has been trending red, and is in reality very red, but she is a real political talent and will make the race credible and be in position in case lightning strikes.
Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe
The Lt. Governor has the biggest rolodex in not just Missouri politics, but maybe all of Missouri. He showcased it again with a huge quarter. He is now just a few dollars short of $5,000,000 on hand heading into the 4th quarter.
A new poll showed him pulling even with Ashcroft, and he is putting together not a list of endorsements, but a list of nearly every endorsement.
Perhaps most importantly, he now has a clear path forward. Eigel knows how to deliver an attack, and has been delivering them on Ashcroft. In the living definition of irony I’m not sure Kehoe can be elected governor without Eigel, but he sure can with him.
Maybe the best explanation why is that thus far is that Eigel has been hitting Ashcroft and Kehoe on social media. Literally no one who follows Bill Eigel on social media is voting for Kehoe so no loss to him, but pretty well everyone who follows Bill Eigel on social media is someone Ashcroft is courting to vote for him. At a Republican event the people who show up either personally know the Ashcroft family and are with them, have personally met Kehoe and if you meet him you are likely for him. The rest are your more angry new people to the party and folks Ashcroft could have a claim to, but Eigel is at the event to throw attacks.
Kehoe can ignore the attacks and bank money, just as he is doing, while traveling to literally every single town in the state.
He is trending up.
Total Raised this quarter: $514,199.
Total Raised this Cycle: $2,331,387
Cash on Hand: $1,415,725
American Dream PAC
Total Raised this quarter: $816,357
Cash on Hand: $3,571,653
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $4,987,378
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft
Ashcroft is the front runner in the race, and will be until at least the ads start airing, but is that because of name ID a lot of which was inherited, or because of his personal popularity. To those who say he is only riding his father’s name, well what do they call Mike Huckabee’s daughter in Arkansas….they call her Governor. In short it really doesn’t matter the fact is that he is the front runner.
Now being the front runner is good, but it’s not all good as you also get the lion’s share of the attacks. Eigel has been ruthless with his attacks, and they have been landing. However, Eigel really has no choice but to go full throated at Ashcroft. There is no path to victory for Eigel that doesn’t include taking a large chunck of voters who would otherwise vote for Ashcroft.
On the plus side Ashcroft has the coveted Missouri Right to Life endorsement, on the opposite side the front runner for Governor should have a larger fundraising haul.
In the end no matter what happens around him there is a sizable number of older voters who may vote in every third primary or so who are not even close to tuned in yet who if they show up will most likely vote for the name they know. That is why regardless of the direction this race goes, he will always have a path to win.
Total Raised this quarter: $208,283.
Total Raised this Cycle: $687,859
Cash on Hand: $ 636,486
Committee for Liberty PAC
Total Raised this quarter: $242,102
Cash on Hand: $1,609,676
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $2,246,162
Senator Bill Eigel
Senator Eigel is running the best campaign of the three, but obviously he has to run the best campaign in order to have a shot. Take it from your ol’ hillbilly pal who was telling you that Eigel was running for Governor when everyone else said he was going to bail to Lt. Gov. that 1) he is running for Governor, and 2) While he is the longest shot in the field, yes he does have a legitimate shot to win.
He is the best orator in the field, and the best of the field generating earned media, and using right wing and left wing media to capitalize on it.
Eigel is a master at doing something specifically to get the Post and the Star to be offended and write some scathing article while he promotes the article to all his followers and laughs all the way to the bank on the fundraising he does off it, brillant.
Contrary to conventional wisdom none of those stories will ever hurt him, but there is one liability he has now: Using Trump’s legal issues to fundraise, then not giving the money to Trump. That is one that if used correctly could hurt.
His campaign is incredibly very well organized; he showed that in bringing out over 1,000 to his kickoff, and has added a real talent in Sophie Shore to his campaign staff.
The bottom line is Bill Eigel knows how to attack, and knows how to fire up the right wing on the internet. He has raised most of the money that he could naturally cultivate, now he will have to raise money from people that want to fund a winner.
The question will be, can he convince them he can win?
Total Raised this quarter: $370,662
Total Raised this cycle: $748,191
Cash on Hand: $524,677
Believe in Life and Liberty (BILL) PAC
Total Raised this quarter: $441,682
Cash on Hand: $892,527
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $1,417,204
Democrats LIKLEY QUADE
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade
Rep. Quade is simply the best political talent in the Missouri Democratic Party that would even consider the statewide ticket in ‘24. She is absolutely talented enough to run a credible campaign, and completely competent enough to serve as Governor if elected.
However, let’s be real, for anyone this nomination is a longshot. It might present a chance for Democrats 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.
The problem for any political party that gets as small as the Missouri Democratic Party is that when you’re so small the extremists have an outsized voice. Then you have others who feel that since they can’t win anyway, so why not just make irrelevant points of protest.
Democrats were a centrist party, who were accustomed to winning races and more importantly knew how to win elections and allowed Nixon to campaign like a man wanting to win. If today’s Democrats allow her to build a statewide profile like Governor Nixon’s then this is a real opportunity for her to become a force statewide. If they force her into positions that get likes on twitter but get winces in Arnold and St. Charles then this could be a trap.
She is talented enough to know how to avoid the pitfalls if it’s possible. Many many people in this state want to see a reasonable democratic leader hold the Republicans accountable. However, no one without a twitter account (which is 99% of Missourians) is looking for a Hillary Clinton 2.0 as her comments in an article few weeks ago resembled. Crystal Quade from Webster County is a political force, whereas Hillstal from the article will have trouble winning the state senate race in ‘26.
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: $291,127
Cash on Hand: $215,175
Cash on Hand: $53,196
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $268,371
Springfield Businessman Mike Hamra
We will write more about Hamra as the campaing unfolds, but in short he is a Springfield businesman who is inheriting a large restarurant chain. In short he can put up some money to be competitives.
The issue could be that the national democratic party has spent a generation telling people that white, christian, heterosexual, men are the problem with society. It appears from previous primary elections, they have listened.
Total Raised this Cycle: $0
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $0
Lt. Governor: Primary: LEAN REHDER – General: SAFE REPUBLICAN
Senator Holly Rehder
Senator Rehder 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.
I would have favored her slightly over Plocher before the last two months, but obviously more so now.
The interesting thing is that some of her allies that were piling on Plocher behind the scenes may have been too cute by half, as I think she would rather run against Dean Plocher than against former Senator Bob Onder.
The bottom line is that she is better off in a three way race with Plocher and Onder than a one on one with either one on one. Whichever way the chips fall she will be the front runner, it’s just a matter of to what degree.
Total Raised this Cycle: $305,545
Cash on Hand: $241,369
Southern Drawl PAC
Cash on Hand: $161,581
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $402,950
House Speaker Dean Plocher
Everyone knows Lt. Governor campaigns can’t be interesting, right? Well, Speaker Plocher’s campaign says, “Hold my beer.”.
Look, he has a lot of background noise around him, but none of it really disqualifying in 2024 republican politics. However, I do think it’s gonna hurt his fundraising.
I have no inside knowledge, but I think he stays as Speaker, but common sense dictates that he may sit down and at least have a conversation on if this race is still worth his time, and money.
If he does run he has over $1.2 million on hand and a large group of state reps who would be willing to help him.
No question he is down, but Dean Plocher isn’t anywhere near out.
Total Raised this Cycle: $46,244.
Cash on Hand: $ 518,731
Missouri United PAC
Cash on Hand: $759,262
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $1,277,993
Former Senator Bob Onder
I just couldn’t imagine Bob Onder sitting out 2024. The man loves politics and after being out of it for a year you can just feel him chomping at the bit to get back in.
He has a record that fits a primary electorate very well, he has the ability to raise money, you have to assume the Missouri Right to Life endorsement, and a legit wealthy brother who owes him a big favor and could fund his entire campaign himself.
He has indicated that he is in, and if that is true then he will likely be a more formidable opponent for Senator Rehder than Plocher. It’s clear he would like to see Plocher leave the race, but taunting him on twitter might be overly eager as it could make him more inclined to stay in the race than leave it.
It appears it’s not 100% official, and he did do a start and stop last cycle in the St. Charles County Executive race, but I’d figure he ultimately runs, and makes this a very competitive race.
Total Raised this Cycle: $0
Cash on Hand: $513,388
Paul Berry III
Paul has been on the ballot every cycle for ten years and has a following in the St. Louis area. He is a good speaker and has a lot of energy. The question will be can he raise the money to be a factor in the race. If he does we will be writing a lot more about STL’s QB #1.
Paul Berry III
Total Raised this Cycle: $0
Cash on Hand: $0
Lt. Governor: Primary: SAFE BROWN – General: SAFE REPUBLICAN
Rep. Richard Brown
The assistant floor leader is a very good politician who will run a good race and help the down ballot races. He will fight the good fight, and be a terrific ambassador for the party on the stump.
Total Raised this Cycle: $2,776
Cash on Hand: $5,250
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $5,250
Attorney General: Primary: TOSS UP General: SAFE Republican
Attorney General Andrew Bailey
Andrew Bailey is a legitimate war hero with no voting record who is doing the tride and true Hawley/Schmitt playbook of using the AG office for all the publicity you can get.
To that end has done nearly everything a Republican activist could have asked of him since taking office, and even some stuff that would seem too far for even them. He drew hate from all the people he was hoping for over his transgender regulations, and to top it off it was his lawsuit that led to removing Kim Gardner from office.
He is a legitimate war hero and will have the backing of Governor Parson and all of his top supporters. It took a little bit, but he got his campaign operation up and running, the only question would be, is it savage enough to take on Scharf’s millions?
The bottom line is Bailey is doing everything he can from the official side, and is working the fundraising side, the outlying question of can he withstand the full Washington D.C. onslaught is one that can only be answered by doing it.
Total Raised this Cycle: $122,057
Cash on Hand: $462,859
Liberty and Justice PAC
Cash on Hand: $871,624
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $1,334,483
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Scharf
Will Scharf is brilliant. He is legitimately a genius, and while that will help him it’s his family’s wealth that will be the reason he can be elected Attorney General.
His resume comes with some headwinds and some tailwinds. He is from the east coast, which isn’t great, but he does have the east coast connections to get the Club for Growth endorsement which is great.. He went to an Ivy League school which isn’t great, but he used his Ivy League connections to get the RAGA and Federalist Society help, which is great. He worked for Trump’s DOJ which is great, but he also worked for Biden’s DOJ which isn’t great. He worked in the Greitens administration which is great, and not so great all at the same time.
His campaign is a carbon copy of the Greitens ‘16 race. From his outfit, his boots, everybody is part of a corrup swamp but me rhetoric, it all fits. I’ve always appreciated Ivy Leaguers who can tell you they are outsiders. Whatever you think of the legitimacy of it, keep in mind it also won handily.
By the middle of June he will be spending a million a week on tv, and that might be a low estimate, he is hiring all the Missouri political talent he can and they are making some inroads.
Just as with Bailey can he be tough enough to withstand the D.C. onslaught, can Scharf find a message to, independent of his attacks on Bailey, that can connect with Missourians?
Only one way to tell.
Total Raised this Cycle: $70,780
Cash on Hand: $ 885,639
Defend Missouri PAC
Cash on Hand: $533,790
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: 1,419,429
Attorney General: Primary: LEAN UNSICKER General: SAFE Republican
She is very adept at public policy, and has been sparking it up on twitter making this race more interesting that it might look on paper. She has the advantage of being a woman in a democratic primary so I would look for her to be the front runner.
Bottome line is as well as she knows public policy, she is gonna have to raise money to compete in the general, but either way she will make it fun.
Total Raised this Cycle: $18,625
Cash on Hand: $7,403
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $7,403
Elad is a great guy, and an incredible hustler. However, I think he may have the same problem he has had in previous campaigns, the money to get his message out. Someone should recruit him for the state house because he would be a ball of fire.
I also love the fact that he legitimately travels the state speaking to folks. #OldSchool
Total Raised this Cycle: $89,597
Cash on Hand: $48,742
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $48,742
Secretary of State: Primary: TOSS UP General: SAFE Republican
Senator Denny Hoskins
Senator Hoskins is part of a group effort kind of loosely organized slate of statewide candidates from Eigel, to now I assume Onder, to Denny, to in an even looser way Koenig. It’s an innovative idea that could really save resources and put them as a slate to the conservative activist base they have cultivated in the state senate.
Hoskins will start with that base of support, and while in a large budget campaign for Governor may not move the needle enough it’s a big deal in a down ballot race.
He is a veteran, likely has a track on the Missouri Right to Life endorsement and has some interest groups he can fundraise from.
The question, like in every down ballot race will be can he fundraise enough to win?
Total Raised this Cycle: $157,132
Cash on Hand: $ 111,113
Old Drum Conservative
Cash on Hand: $141,716
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $152,829
Senator Caleb Rowden
Caleb Rowden wins elections. He just does.
Now that he is in the race for SOS he is the one down ballot candidate who has the potential to raise enough money to not only define himself, but to define his opponents.
When your the leader in the senate you have to do hard, adult, complex things. However, while he has been the leader he has racked up more conservative accomplishments than perhaps anyone in the history of the party.
The question will be can he raise enough money from the people who know of his role in the republican’s success to offset the attacks from those who hate him for it?
Total Raised this Cycle: $199,265
Cash on Hand: $115,761
Majority Forward PAC
Cash on Hand: $392,807
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $508,568
Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller
Schoeller has a lot going for him, a southwest Missouri base, a very conservative record, the fact that without a bizarro Todd Akin he would have won this race in ‘12, and years of experience on the ballot.
Rowden diving in isn’t ideal for him, but if he can hold the 7th district and raise some money he has as good of a shot as anyone to win.
Total Raised this Cycle: $100,071
Cash on Hand: $53,213
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $53,213
Rep. Adam Schwadron
Rep. Schwadron is a new entrant into the race. He comes out of the St. Louis area and is currently the only candidate in the field hailing from the state’s largest media market. He knows how to win as he won the tightest race in the state house in 2022.
He has a potential fundraising base, and has shown a recent ability to attempt to attract attention, but probably the biggest bonafide is convincing former House Speaker Elijah Haahr to come on board of his campaign.
The bottom line will be if he can raise enough money to be relevant enough in the race to get attacked by one of his rivals, and if he does can he raise even more to combat them.
Either way, don’t count him out, even if he doesn’t win this one, you won’t have heard the last of him.
Total Raised this Cycle: $12,050
Cash on Hand: $10,343
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $10,343
State Treasurer: PRIMARY: LEAN MALEK GENERAL: SAFE Republican
State Treasurer Vivek Malek
Malek is crushing it on the fundraising front, just freaking crushing it.
He is doing literally everything he can to get to every possible town he can and promote my old pal Wendell Bailey’s MOBUCKS, taking every chance to placate right wingers with attention grabbing stances, hell he has even thrown all his efforts behind ESA’s even while they are funding his opponents.
The bottom line is that his opponents will run a whisper campaign against him. However, it’s gonna be hard to attack him with enough money to matter and have enough money to get their own name out.
In a three way I suspect both Koenig and Smith hope the other attacks Malek while they spend their money on raising their own name ID. That’s why the race is lean Malek.
Total Raised this Cycle:$914,797
Cash on Hand: $704,307
American Promise PAC
Cash on Hand: 1,245,543
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $1,949,850
House Budget Chairman Rep. Cody Smith
The Chairman is a solid candidate from the most republican part of the state, and as Budget Chair can raise money. He has a solid resume and a good reputation with the people in government he has worked with.
Many thought he was on a glide path to the state senate before now Senator Carter shook up the world and defeated an incumbent, and ended up seeking his future in a statewide race.
He is legitimately a top statewide contender, but this race is a curious one. Could he hold his own against anyone on this list, absolutely. Can he win a four way against one of the most accomplished senators of the post term limit era, an attorney from his area, and a fundraising machine of an incumbent, it’s a tall order.
Total Raised this Cycle: $650,027
Cash on Hand: $284,573
Ozark Gateway Leadership PAC
Cash on Hand: $135,381
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $419,954
State Senator Andrew Koenig
Ask anyone who is one of the most honest and hardworking legislators in the capitol and they won’t get very far before saying Senator Koenig.
Also ask anyone who has consistently been the most underestimated politician of the last 15 years and they will say Senator Koenig.
I have my own reservations on if a grassroots campaign could win in a statewide primary, afterall “grassroots campaign” is normally a code word for a losing campaign, but if someone can knock enough doors to move the needle it’s him.
He has the same dilemma as Smith, he can probably raise enough money to raise his name ID or bring up Malek’s negatives, but can he do both?
State Senator Andrew Koenig
Total Raised this Cycle: $170,126
Cash on Hand: $99,187
Cash on Hand: $76,652
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $175,839
Springfield Attorney Lori Rook
Rook is an attorney from Springfield who obviously has the financial wherewithal to compete in the race. Her background is in elder law and she does come to the race with some connections, and put her money where her mouth is with a $500,000 contribution to show she is serious.
Let me think, have you ever heard of the only woman winning an upset in a four way primary against three men…oh wait 2018. Time will tell how well she takes to the campaign or if she actually spends the money, but if she does both she will be a factor.
Total Raised this Cycle: $500,000
TOTAL CASH ON HAND: $500,000
Scott Faughn is the publisher of The Missouri Times, owner of the Clayton Times in Clayton; SEMO Times in Poplar Bluff; and host of the only statewide political television show, This Week in Missouri Politics.