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Statewide Tip Sheet: July 2016

We’re in the home stretch of the primary season, and we’ve got the 2nd quarter fundraising numbers, so we thought that it was the perfect time to provide you with an updated statewide tip sheet.

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt


The incumbent senator seems to keep pushing forward, and the only real problem his campaign faces is that he is, well, an incumbent. He seems guaranteed to have plenty of resources to run the race and has a couple advantages as the battleground develops:

  1. Trump is likely to carry the state by 6-12 percent, and
  2. 2. he has cultivated significant support amongst building trades groups in St. Louis.

Public Policy Polling came out with a poll showing it a 3 percent race, but keep in mind PPP is a Democratic polling firm, and they have been known to show Democratic candidates closer than they end up being. The Republican candidate for federal office still has the advantage in Missouri while President Obama is in the White House, so we keep it LEAN BLUNT.
Cash on Hand: $6.8 million
Raised this Quarter: $2.3 million
Raised this Cycle: $8.4 million

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander

Secretary of State Jason Kander
Secretary of State Jason Kander

At first glance it may have seemed like a wonderful gift to Kander to have Donald Trump at the top of the ticket, and it still may be. However, he could also prove to be a problem as it will be harder to exploit Blunt’s biggest liability – that he can be called an insider – if Blunt throws his arm around Trump, who is the ultimate outsider, and says he is as angry at the status quo as Trump is.
Kander is having a string of good weeks, but we’ve seen before when he loses focus and starts complaining about the senator’s family, as the Post-Dispatch helped with this month, he usually lags. The other hit to his efforts is that with former U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh getting into the Indiana Senate race, there will be another race that is more inviting to national Democrats than Missouri.
However, we’re seeing evidence that our sense that this would ultimately be a nationally funded competitive race come true.
Cash on Hand: $3.8 million
Raised this Quarter: $1.75 million
Raised this Cycle: $6.3 million

John Brunner
Brunner 2What an amazing race, at this point any of the four candidates could win. Brunner was the first up on television and radio and similarly, he caused the first real movement in the race. While some polling shows that momentum to be leveling off, he is becoming the one to watch in the race.
Brunner has proven he can get up to the 29-32 percent mark that it will likely take to win the race, and he took shot at Greitens on the issue that is seemingly his biggest liability, his recent conversion from the Democratic party. If Brunner continues the attacks on Greitens, he is likely the candidate that can put in the resources to take advantage of their effect because he doesn’t have to call a donor to replenish his campaign coffers. A real, practical advantage of what he calls “not being able to be bought” is the that he can buy ad time himself.
Cash on Hand: $1.9 million
Raised this Quarter: $350k
Raised this Cycle: $6 million

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder

Lt. gov. Kinder speaks at a campaign event in St. Louis July 15, 2016 (Travis Zimpfer/MISSOURI TIMES)
Lt. gov. Kinder speaks at a campaign event in St. Louis July 15, 2016 (Travis Zimpfer/MISSOURI TIMES)

Kinder’s campaign seemed to be dogged for nearly a year over whether he would have enough funds to compete in the last two weeks, and that question was answered by Joplin mega donor David Humphreys with his large contributions.
The bigger question now it seems for the Kinder campaign, is that before he has even been attacked his numbers are slipping. He has made some small television buys, but his first large outlay for advertising will be important to see how it moves his numbers.
However, in the end, if voters are turned off by the back and forth between Greitens and Brunner, he would be the likely destination for voters who want a name they’ve known.
Cash on Hand: $620k
Raised this Quarter: $670k
Raised this Cycle: $1.6million

Eric Greitens


Greitens held onto his ad buy for a long long time, but when he cut loose of the money, he made a splash. Quick rule of thumb we’ve observed: if editorial columnists hate it, then it will sell with Missouri Republicans.
He dispatched with questions surrounding alleged embellishment of his record by outing a person with some connections to his opponent as behind it, but the entire race may come down to whether or not he can withstand Brunner’s ad highlighting his recent conversion from the Democratic party. He has made a big deal about Brunner’s connection to the Patriots for America PAC, but there is also a picture of him chatting with the treasurer of the LG PAC, so that’s pretty much a wash and inside baseball.
Greitens has raised the money to tell his story, and it keeps coming with $200,000 from Sheldon Adelson. If he can drown out or refute the criticisms, he has a chance to come from behind and completely change the way Republican politicians view statewide races. Actually, now that we mention it, Brunner ran in one primary and is now called a “career politician.” I guess that means in three weeks, Greitens will join the ranks of the “career politicians” himself.
Cash on Hand: $2.2 million
Raised this Quarter: $1 million
Raised this Cycle: $6.2 million

Former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway
Hanaway 2For those asking if Hanaway still has a clear path to win, the answer was confirmed by the PPP poll showing her in second place and within the margin of error of first. She has Jeff Roe and Axiom Strategies behind her, she is probably the coolest in the heat of a campaign, and she is the candidate who, as of today, seems the least likely to be attacked.
If she continues her steady climb in the ratings and isn’t attacked by her opponents, then she will be in a great position to win. Further, she has the backing of the state’s most prolific donor and you have to think that if she is in the thick of things the last week, he won’t let his previous investment go down the drain without making another contribution to give her every chance to win. Never forget, in a close race, she has the same team collecting data for her that won the Iowa caucus for Ted Cruz.
Cash on Hand: $3.8 million
Raised this Quarter: $1.75 million
Raised this Cycle: $6.3 million

Attorney General Chris Koster

Attorney General Chris Koster at the 2016 State of the State Address.
Attorney General Chris Koster at the 2016 State of the State Address.

Attorney General Koster is getting the chance to sit back and watch the Republicans slug it out and, more importantly, deplete their war chests while he stockpiles money – a lot of it.
He ends the quarter with over $10 million on hand and is spending a great deal of his time in typically Republican areas. It would stand to reason that unless Kinder wins the primary, he will get the NRA endorsement. Unless it’s Brunner or Greitens he will most certainly have the money advantage. And it’s almost a foregone conclusion that no matter who wins the primary, he will get unprecedented support from Missouri’s agriculture groups.
His only real fear at this point has to be that Hillary Clinton is such a miserably terrible candidate that Trump wins by more than 10 percent, which could happen. However, if you want to see how well Koster understands rural Missourah go to Google Images and search “Hillary Clinton” and “Chris Koster.” You won’t find a picture of them together.
Cash on Hand: $10.2 million
Raised this Quarter: $3.8 million
Raised this Cycle: $14.5 million

Former State Senator and Kansas City Mayor Charles Wheeler
No one will see it coming, but watch for Charlie to score more votes than most anyone sees coming. After all, he has an airport named after him.
Cash on Hand: n/a

Sen. Mike Parson
forrest lucas mike parson missouri timesParson started this race with a strong record and a great deal of contacts throughout rural Missouri in the agriculture community. He is raising an impressive amount of money, most all of it from Missouri. At least it would have been seen as a great amount of money in most cycles.
It looks like the campaign is turning as events on television turn to his law enforcement background, which should be solid gold to Republican primary voters in a time of riots and protesting. Parson has every opportunity to win and it may come down to his willingness to raise the money to re-enforce a law and order message. If he loses, lobbyists and Senate leadership may get the law and order message when they want PQ votes from him.
Cash on Hand: $794k
Raised this Quarter: $202k
Raised this Cycle: $1.2 million
Consultant: J. Harris Company

Bev Randles
bev randles twmpRandles has made the race a toss up as she has become a candidate that both Rex Sinquefield and David Humphreys are willing to spend big on. While Sinquefield has far outspent Humphreys in the race, they are both working to bury Parson in cash and attacks.
Randles has a good personal story and has been working her campaign very hard, but it may be the attacks on Parson that have tightened the race. She is certainly on pace to set a spending record on a lt. governor’s race, and may be on pace to win it as well.
Cash on Hand: $536k
Raised this Quarter: $774k
Raised this Cycle: $1.8 million
Consultant: Turning Point Public Affairs

Former Congressman Russ Carnahan

russ carnahanThere was a conventional wisdom to this race that unless Rex Sinquefield kicked in millions of dollars to Randles that Parson would win the primary and the Republican would cruise in the general.
Well, that was until Carnahan announced he was running. Since then, he assumed front runner status and while Mr. Sinquefield did go all in with Randles, whoever wins that primary will be behind in not only name ID, but money. If Clinton can keep her margin of defeat to under 6 percent, and Koster can win, Carnahan is in a great spot to maintain the Democrats’ statewide office success in a red state.
Cash on Hand: $341k
Raised this Quarter: $256k
Raised this Cycle: $462k

Rep. Tommie Pierson
Pierson is an outstanding man who will have a good amount of prestige in St. Louis Democratic circles on the strength of his character, but with quarters like his $196.05 this period, he was never quite able to put together the fundraising to really be competitive in a statewide race against a legacy name. However, with his son seeking his seat in the House, another Democratic legacy may be beginning.
Cash on Hand: $4k
Raised this Quarter: $196.05
Raised this Cycle: $48k

Senator Kurt Schaefer


This race is really breaking down as to whose side are you on. It’s Sinquefield vs. Humphreys, it’s Washington interest groups vs. Missouri interest groups, it’s politicians’ endorsements from around the country vs. Missouri politicians.
Schaefer has the advantage in the race because he has prosecutorial experience, but in an only-in-Missouri twist, he also has a legislative record that is like blood in the water for other Republicans.
It’s always the case that when Washington groups get involved in Missouri races, they become the nastiest races. The race is close with Schaefer keeping a slight lead despite being outspent. Schaefer has a slight advantage, but this race is close. If he loses, look for smart politicians to be leery of big donors courting votes and a knock to the prestige of Missouri trade groups.
Cash on Hand: $1.2 million
Raised this Quarter: $607k
Raised this Cycle: $3.1 million
Consultant: Barklage & Knodell

University of Missouri Professor Josh Hawley


Hawley’s resume is thin, but his wallet is thick – very thick. Not exactly his wallet, but a group of Washington Republicans known as the Federalist Society who seem to have a bottomless wallet to elect him. Talented politicians are able to convince donors to go all in and Hawley is proving he is a talented politician. His attacks on Schaefer being a moderate have drawn some blood. However, Schaefer’s attacks on Hawley for representing the Mujahideen hit home, but he has done a reasonably effective job pushing back against them, oddly enough using moderates to do it. We’ll see how it plays out, but Hawley could change the path for Republicans with statewide ambitions. Maybe they should spend more time in Washington D.C. meeting donors and less time in Washington County, Missouri.
Cash on Hand: $926k
Raised this Quarter: $914k
Raised this Cycle: $2.2 million

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman
zimmermanZimmerman came out of the gate early on television, and his second commercial on his work suing cell phone companies is a good one. He has done what he had to do, which was out-fundraise Hensley and out-work her. While the work may be about equal now, Zimmerman has been hustling for over a year working this race.
So long as he keeps anything close to his 3-to-1 money advantage, he will be the favored to win the primary.
Cash on Hand: $1.2 million
Raised this Quarter: $215k
Raised this Cycle: $1.4 million
Consultant: Jim Ross

Former Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley


While it’s certain that she will be behind until the media begins, she does have two things going for her: 1. As she said on This Week in Missouri Politics, “I have more experience prosecuting criminals than the three boys combined,” and 2. She is a woman running in a Democratic primary.
One experienced statewide election observer said to us before the race began that she would likely need 60 to 70 cents on the dollar to win. Right now she has just more than 30 cents on the dollar.
Cash on Hand: $288k
Raised this Quarter: $105k
Raised this Cycle: $480k

Senator Eric Schmitt
schmitt at cpacThe biggest event in the race was likely when Sen. Brown withdrew his candidacy. Now the biggest question may be whether Schmitt can raise another million dollars between now and November.
Many Republicans are counting on Schmitt as the one statewide race that they can feel confident about winning. Initially, some worried if even Schmitt could win if Trump was the nominee, but those concerns have been subdued as polls have shown Trump easily winning Missouri. If Trump carries Missouri, it’s hard not to see Schmitt as the favorite to become state treasurer.
Cash on Hand: $2.6 million
Raised this Quarter: $154k
Raised this Cycle: $2.7 million
Consultant: Axiom Strategies, Barklage & Knodell, Victory Enterprises

Former State Rep. Judy Baker
Baker has run both statewide and for Congress, as well as serving in the Missouri House. She has the connections and the advantage of being a woman in a Democratic primary. That said, it’s likely she didn’t expect such a spirited fight from her primary opponent.
She is a good candidate, and has run a good campaign. By all natural metrics, she should win this primary and be set to fight a competitive general election. But you can’t be sure as her opponent has out-raised her. If she closes the race strong, she should win.
Cash on Hand: $145k
Raised this Quarter: $60k
Raised this Cycle: $211k

Pat Contreras
An exciting candidate who may be running the best campaign of the cycle. He began with very little name ID and in his first run for office, he dove in at the statewide level and has raised over $300k while doing more hustling than maybe anyone running.
His strategy of traveling to Democrats around the state and securing their endorsement is impressive when he integrated it with his social media campaign. While the race still has to be considered to be LEAN BAKER, he has put himself in a position to win. Watch out on election night, many predict the Democratic turnout to be low, if it dips to very low this is an upset to watch for.
Cash on Hand: $98k
Raised this Quarter: $99
Raised this Cycle: $312k
Consultant: 3D Political

Jay Ashcroft
Ashcroft started the race with an enormous name ID advantage, but a fundraising deficit. He has now squared the fundraising deficit. However, Sen. Kraus has begun hitting Ashcroft’s record and attacking him for running on his father’s accomplishments instead of his own.
These are the first attacks Ashcroft has had in this campaign and it will be interesting to see if they can begin to chip away at his numbers. Until we know the answer, the race will be LEAN ASHCROFT.
Cash on Hand: $623k
Raised this Quarter: $211k
Raised this Cycle: $813k
Consultant: Victory Enterprises

State Senator Will Kraus
Everyone knew, including Sen. Kraus, that he would be the underdog in this race right up to this point. Now it’s the time when he plans to tighten the race as Kraus is hitting Ashcroft hard and we’re awaiting his initial television commercial. You have to assume that Kraus can put together a stellar ad with his look and his military experience.
On a staff note, his impressive former Chief of Staff Mark Siettmann has left Jackson County and is working on the campaign. And in a very interesting note, Axiom Strategies contributed approximately $40k in cash and services this week, showing their commitment to their longtime client.
Cash on Hand: $797k
Raised this Quarter: $124k
Raised this Cycle: $743k
Consultant: Axiom Strategies

Robin Smith
Smith has been making the statewide Democratic rounds and, from what we hear, impressing the Democratic faithful. But as the numbers show, you have to build a larger coalition in Missouri than just Democrats in order to win.
The real test of her campaign will be if she can continue to raise close to $200k per quarter and if she can begin to branch out and build a network of supporters around the state. This will be an interesting general election matchup as there will be a clear contrast with whoever wins the Republican primary.
Cash on Hand: $226k
Raised this Quarter: $162k
Raised this Cycle: $392k