JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The quarterly reports are in and candidates are building their war chests with less than a year to go until the 2020 primaries. It will be the first presidential election year with donation limits back in place.
Since candidate committees are limited in the donations they can receive — $2,650 for statewide, $2,500 for Senate, and $2,000 for House — the larger checks are being cut to political action committees (PACs) associated with specific bids.
The Missouri Times took a look at some of the big takeaways from the finance reports, as well as a few interesting tidbits.
While there are multiple special elections taking place on Nov. 5, the election to watch is HD 99. Democrat Trish Gunby and Republican Lee Ann Pitman are going head-to-head to see who will replace Jean Evans in the House.
Gov. Mike Parson called the special election for the district following the resignation of Evans, who was just months into her second term before she became the executive director of the Missouri Republican Party.
In the 2018 general election, the district elected Evans to the House while simultaneously voting to side with Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, for U.S. Senate.
So far, Gunby has the fundraising lead. She racked in $59,750 for the quarter, $122,667 this election, and has $62,214 cash on hand. In contrast, Pitman has $7,066 cash on hand after bringing in $10,354 this quarter and $15,755 for the cycle.
Although Galloway brought in more money this quarter — something she’s touted in fundraising emails this week — Parson still leads in fundraising. Galloway brought in $544,829 during the latest quarter, and Parson brought in $319,298.
However, Parson has $1,256,703 cash on hand; Galloway has only $540,315.
Those figures do not include the PACs supporting each candidate.
Most of the other statewide positions are deemed “safe” or “likely” Republican by The Missouri Times — and the incumbent candidates are building their war chests.
Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe brought in $186,489 this quarter and has $334,729 in the bank. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has $264,928 cash on hand but only brought in $21,646 this quarter.
Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick brought in $81,790 during this past quarter, bringing the amount he has in the bank to $241,744. Former Democratic state Rep. Vicki Englund launched a challenge to Fitzpatrick last month. She has $4,642 cash on hand after hauling in $5,225 this period.
Outside of the special election, Rep. Dean Plocher brought in the most dollars this cycle. The Floor Leader candidate hauled in $44,793 during the three month period, upping his cash on hand to $161,726.
The next biggest haul in the Majority Floor Leader race is Rep. Curtis Trent with $27,651. Trent ended the quarter with $61,158 cash on hand. Rep. Chuck Basye brought in $13,800 this quarter and has $20,920, while Rep. J. Eggleston received $4,550 and has $45,154 in the bank. Both are making a bid for the position.
Current Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo put up the third biggest numbers for the House — behind Gunby and Plocher. He brought in $40,850 and ended the quarter with $132,533 cash on hand.
Rounding out the top five for the quarter are Rep. Dan Houx with $35,003 ($21,752 cash on hand) and David Smith with $31,800 ($100,653 cash on hand).
The state senators who put up the biggest fundraising figures for the quarter both are newcomers to the upper chamber.
Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, who is not up for re-election until 2022, brought in the biggest haul, with $122,320 for the three month period. He now has $212,683 in the bank. Sen. Lauren Arthur, who won a special election in 2018 and is up for re-election in 2020, received $102,013 in donations, upping her war chest to $282,696.
Candidates in some of the more competitive Senate races also put up large figures — though not in the six-digit range.
In SD 27, Reps. Holly Rehder and Kathy Swan brought in $47,950 and $43,264, respectively. Still, Rehder has the cash on hand advantage with $209,988 compared to Swan’s $146,628.
In SD 29, David Cole has the financial lead over Rep. Mike Moon. For the quarter, Cole brought in $43,084, upping his cash on hand to $77,702. In contrast, Moon has $37,101 in the bank after receiving $23,730 in donations.
The campaign looking to put a Medicaid expansion question on the 2020 ballot brought in more than $2 million in three months. Missourians for Healthcare has $1,743,211 in the bank after bringing in $2,159,631. The group has spent more than $700,000 on signature collection so far.
Most of the donations were six figures. Health Forward Foundation wrote a check for $750,000, the D.C.-based North Fund donated $500,000, and Prospects for Missouri donated $396,465 while BJC Healthcare and Missouri Hospital Association each put $250,000 to the campaign.
Former Gov. Eric Greitens didn’t bring in any money this quarter, but he does have $669,002 cash on hand. He has brought in $6,242,319 this cycle.
The committee spent more than $50,000. Most of the money, again, went to lawyers. Checks where signed to four different firms — Husch Blackwell, Chalmers & Adams, Clark Hill, and Greensfelder Hemker & Gale — for “legal fees.”
Current House Speaker Elijah Haahr — who has switched his campaign to “statewide office” — received $86,100.00 in donations, upping his cash on hand to $296,745.80.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn contributed to this report.
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for The Missouri Times and The Missouri Times Magazine. She joined The Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.