Important state filings due Oct. 15th
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – With less than a week left before the required quarterly filings due, a number of candidates are submitting their filings early, and the results so far have been impressive.
David Wasinger, a Republican candidate for State Auditor, announced this week that he had raised more than $150,000 since announcing his campaign on Sept. 12, putting his total cash on hand at more than $620,000.
His opponent, current State Auditor Nicole Galloway, showed more than $500,000 in cash on hand in her July filing.
But perhaps the more interesting story lies in the state senate races.
In northern Missouri, several Republicans are vying to replace Sen. Brian Munzlinger after 2018, and the name of the game so far has been who can show the strongest fundraising.
Cindy O’Laughlin has shown strong numbers in her filings, with a $160,000, $100,000 of which comes as a loan from O’Laughlin’s own pocket. The rest of it, however, was amassed through contributions from more than 60 donors.
Rep. Craig Redmon has also shown impressive numbers in his career, having amassed more than $100,000 in previous elections. This period, Redmon has held some fundraising events in the past few weeks, which would be expected to raise his July numbers of $28,000 in cash on hand.
Between Redmon and the other candidates, Shumake and Walker, some Missouri politicos wonder if the three might look at some sort of deal to take out O’Laughlin, who has shown fundraising to be a strength.
Meanwhile, in the race to fill the vacancy that will be left by Sen. Rob Schaaf, Tony Luetkemeyer has been busy in his efforts to campaign, also expected to return with a total somewhere around $160,000. He joins Reps. Galen Higdon and Nick Marshall as Republican contenders, leading to a potentially wild primary. And just this week, a new candidate entered the fray in that race, as Harry Roberts, Buchanan County presiding commissioner, announced his state senate campaign. On the Democratic side, Rep. Pat Conway and Martin Rucker are expected to vie for the nomination.
Rep. Bill White also filed his numbers on Monday, raising $25,920 in the third quarter, with a reported $118,199.48 cash on hand, which he called a “clear financial lead in the race for the 32nd State Senate District.”
The thing about these October filings is that it marks an important period in the election campaigns: at this particular point, it almost seems to be a test to see whether a candidate is serious in terms of fundraising.
“The third quarter of a non-election year is usually a time that will make or break those that might have primaries,” Jack Cardetti of Tightline Strategies said. “The filing for office begins in January, but for all practical purposes, candidates will make that decision in the next month or two. And putting as much money in the bank as a candidate and make sure that your fundraising support is both wide and deep are critical things that those wanting to avoid primaries have to concentrate on.”
Cardetti says that when it comes to evaluating the performance of a candidate, there are a few metrics that are important: how much money they raise, how many people contribute or donate, how many endorsements you have, what your policy ideas are, and how many doors you’ve knocked on. He says that it can be hard to quantify a number of those factors, so they tend to rely on money as the most concrete way to evaluate.
Many political strategists agree that this third quarter period in any year serves as not a “do or die”, but more of a “put up or shut up” scenario, but there are exceptions.
“Fourth quarter is hard to fundraise, so this is kind of the last big quarter that people have an opportunity to put up a significant number,” Scott Dieckhaus, principal at Palm Strategic, said. “The last quarter that anyone typically looks at filing, whether your race is going to be competitive, or if someone will jump into the race at the last minute is usually the January report. So most politicos tend to pay attention to that January report moreso than October, but October is usually a pretty good indicator of what things will be like in January, because you really only get the month of October to fundraise as everyone settles into the holiday season.”
Dieckhaus says it will be interesting to watch how the competitive primaries shake out in those Senate districts, as well as keeping an eye on how things play out in the U.S. Senate race.
“Primaries are getting decided fairly quickly here,” Cardetti said. “This is really one of the last chances candidates have to make a statement and avoid a primary.”
Filings are due on Oct. 15.
Benjamin Peters was a reporter for The Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine and also produced the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined The Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield.