Republican Roy Blunt is retiring in 2022.
There will be no filling the enormous void left by legendary Missouri Senator Roy Blunt as he retires from the senate. However, the primary is proving to be as interesting as Senator Blunt was effective. Let’s take a look at the fundraising of the candidates, but keep in mind federal campaign finance is one of the most screwed up things anyone could ever devise so much of the spending will be done through anonymous dark money PACs.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt
Attorney General Schmitt has pretty expertly used his job as AG to position himself as a conservative fighter to the point that even his rivals in the race give him credit for. The issues of schools force masking kids was a key touchpoint that connected his job as AG to real republican activists. One more variant and one more mask order and he will have an actual lead in this race.
Barring that, he has put himself in the best financial position with a near $3 million dollars advantage over anyone in the race, and now that it is basically a three way tie between himself, Congresswoman Hartzler, and Greitens that money will matter along with AFP pumping over $1 million in IEs already.
From the beginning of the race when he was in the single digits to today when he has at least the best momentum in the race if not the lead he has been the most upwardly mobile. It will be interesting to see if Greitens’ attack ads blunt that momentum.
Bottom line: He keeps it up; he is right in the running with the momentum, and gets the biggest share of any voter who peels off Greitens. Another variant, and he is likely the senator.
Contributions this period: $2,924,918
Cash on hand: $$1,301,574
Cash on hand minus debt: $1,295,214
Save Missouri Values PAC
Contributions this period: $4,580,119
Cash on hand: $3,351,577
Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler
The congresswoman has been like a diesel engine slowly and consistently building a campaign that I figure once you’re on board you’re there. She as by a long shot the best group of rural ag folks working for her, and the Hawley endorsement is a big big deal. Now she is going to have to get Senator Hawley to shake loose some of that money. To that end a PAC has been set up the Hawley Show-Me Strong PAC, but it only has raised $14,100. Being a woman, and an undeniably moral person gives her the best angle to attack Greitens, but does that just peel voters off to Schmitt? It’s what makes this race so compelling.
Bottom line: She keeps pouring it on, and she has by far the best claim to the undecideds out there. If she gets the biggest share of those, and Senator Hawley gives a fundraising boost, she likely wins.
Contributions this period: $2,431,638
Cash on hand: $1,526,540
Cash on hand minus debt: $1,179,417
Secure Our Freedom Action Fund
Contributions this period: $44,000
Cash on hand: $38,797
Former Governor Eric Greitens
At this point everyone knows who Eric Greitens is, there really isn’t any question about what you’re voting for if you’re still in that basement.
The question that will be answered this summer is: Who are Missouri Republicans?
He has always ran his campaigns on dark money and out of state contributions, and will again here. We didn’t count The G Team money because he counted in with his candidate committee.
The most telling statistic on this tipsheet is after the former First Lady’s allegations broke on the 21st of last month only 6 Missourians contributed to him for a total of $1,000, and half of that was from his own family.
Bottom Line: If domestic violence, blackmailing mistresses, and child abuse are what the Missouri Republican Party stands for then he wins. If not then he loses.
Contributions this period: $1,869,078
Cash on hand: $345,162
Cash on hand minus debt: $199,314
Contributions this period: $2,500,000
Cash on hand: $1,732,157
Missouri First PAC
Contributions this period: $297,455
Cash on hand: $231,080
Congressman Billy Long
The Billy Bus really hasn’t fired up until the last couple weeks. Look he would fire off a few here and there, but in the last couple weeks the Billy that I know and love has been pretty consistently firing off.
He is the most compelling interview in the field and if all six candidates had dinner with all 6 million Missourians he would win. However, I think he should just put a GoPro on someone and have them follow him around all the time on the campaign trail. I’d watch.
Best moment of his campaign so far was when Senator Hawley fired him up over how he handled the Hartzler endorsement, and when President Trump fired off a great tweet highlighting his campaign.
Bottom line: If he can get his personality out to voters he can shake the race up. If not then he could choose to be an attack dog on one candidate and probably sink them.
Contributions this period: $1,588,958
Cash on hand: $500,546
Cash on hand minus debt: $250,546
I’ve consistently said it, and still believe it: there is something there with this campaign. He does connect with republicans, but running for office is very very hard. Starting your career running for the US Senate is even harder. He has had staff issues, and still hasn’t been able to tap into the online money that I believe is out there for him.
It still bewilders me that he leaves his house without his machine gun. Back home we would say: “dance with the gun that brung ya.”
Bottom line: He can connect with people, but the organization side has to improve or it won’t matter.
Contributions this period: $1,015,660
Cash on hand: $38,195
Cash on hand minus debt: -$80,574
State Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz
Senator Schatz is looking for 20% of reasonably traditional pro-business republicans and is trying to build a campaign network to identify and organize them.
He is positioning himself as the reasonable and real person in the room. That cash on hand number is probably important here, and not so much the minus debt. That money is his and as I understand it he intends to spend it.
Bottom line: If there is that 20% out there I think he will spend the money to find them. However, he will have to convince them he can win because they will be the most discerning about not spoiling their vote.
Contributions this period: $2,258,267
Cash on hand: $2,134,509
Cash on hand minus debt: $94,509
Kunce caught a bad break with Gussie Busch’s daughter stepping into the race. However, he has very defty portraying her as the more centrist candidate and he is the most liberal. The guy can raise money and it’s really impossible to tell what type of candidate Ms. Busch-Valentine will be so why not carry on?
Bottom line: This primary only really matters if Greitens wins, but in reality he could, and that means Lucas Kunce has a real chance to be a US Senator.
Contributions this period: $3,325,684
Cash on hand: $942,035
Cash on hand minus debt: $942,035
Trudy Busch Valentine
If you read a resume and it said Gussie Busch’s daughter, nurse, philanthropist with 100% name ID, and most all of it positive could self fund her own race against a guy who resigned in disgrace after blackmailing his mistress, striking his ex-wife, and knocking his son’s tooth out you would say this has to be a novel, or you would say Missouri Democrats who literally never have any luck could have this happen to them, but no that actually could be the case this fall.
She had a stumble in the woke parts of Missouri democratic politics with some ball she went to when she was a kid, but that won’t matter in the fall.
Who knows what kind of candidate she will be, but coming out early against defunding the police is the first start for a viable statewide democrat.
Bottom line: This is the ideal situation for democrats. A woman who can help fund the race, 100% name ID, and has made it clear she won’t get trapped in the woke lane to losing. Again it only matters if Greitens wins the primary.
Cool guy, cool campaign. He spends the limited dollars he has loaned the campaign doing good works for folks. I think he may be around for a while.
Bottom line: This looks like it isn’t his time, but I think he is impressive and look for him to run again and next time for something he wins.
Contributions this period: $434,868
Cash on hand: $23,392
Cash on hand minus debt: -$231,292
Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe
He is the only “announced” candidate and is putting together the most broadly supported campaign I’ve ever seen thus far. You say that you can’t meet enough people to matter in a statewide race, well Mike Kehoe is testing that theory.
From the Cattlemen, the Firefighters, to ag he is stockpiling endorsements, and money. It’s very likely that Mike Kehoe has the best rolodex in the state when it comes to raising money. However, endorsements like the firefighters are some of the best in the state as they not only show up at parades, but make for great press events, and wrote Kehoe a $50,000 check.
It could have been some foreshadowing when the Kehoe campaign gave a quote from a spokesman basically framing the race as a self made man vs. someone who isn’t. If they can frame the race that way it could chip away at Ashcroft’s greatest strength. More importantly, it shows that Kehoe is coming to fight for the nomination.
I’m not sure what more you could do right now in a race that is two years away.
Contributions this period: $58,540
Contributions this cycle: $585,530
Cash on hand: $467,434
American Dream PAC
Contributions this period: $171,096
Contributions this cycle: $171,096
Cash on hand: $973,150
Total cash on hand: $1,440,584
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft
While the secretary isn’t “officially” running for governor he is now officially running for governor with his eruption in fundraising this quarter.
The only knock on Secretary Ashcroft is that he has never been a tremendous fundraiser, well he raised more in the first quarter of this year than any quarter ever, and close to any election ever.
He of course starts any republican primary with a huge name ID and he has a poll showing him winning 50-20% which I assume is close to right at this stage.
There is a conventional wisdom that Kehoe’s path is through out fundraising Ashcroft if that is the case then Jay made a huge statement this quarter.
Contributions this period: $36,995
Contributions this cycle: $221,862
Cash on hand: $537,036
Committee for Liberty PAC
Contributions this period: $760,000
Contributions this cycle: $904,484
Cash on hand: $944,927
Total cash on hand: $1,481,963
State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick
The incumbent Treasurer began with an advantage in infrastructure and from having run statewide before. There was thought early on that he would be well behind in fundraising. Well the Sinquefields and some support from Governor Parson has as of now pretty much leveled the playing field. It’s my thought that it’s impossible to have very much name ID in this race so buying air time will matter, and Fitzpatrick has to feel very good about the summer if he can be at money parity with Gregory.
Contributions this period: $99,099
Contributions this cycle: $590,481
Cash on hand: $576,058
Missourians for a Responsible Budget PAC
Contributions this period: $5,500
Contributions this cycle: $538,730
Cash on hand: $264,154
Total cash on hand: $840,212
Representative David Gregory
Gregory jumped out to a flurry of police and firefighter endorsements and fundraising. He has shown this is a serious race that could go either way.
His fundraising has forced the incumbent to loan his campaign money, and last quarter Gregory matched him by investing in the race himself.
Gregory has a built in message about Jeff City folks picking the man who audits the books, but he may not wanna offend the folks he might with that line of attack.
Either way this will be a tight race all summer.
Contributions this period: $50,192
Contributions this cycle: $493,702
Cash on hand: $448,335
Show Me Growth PAC
Contributions this period: $50,500
Contributions this cycle: $476,817
Cash on hand: $406,612
Total cash on hand: $854,947
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.