By Johnny Kampis | Missouri Watchdog
ST. LOUIS — With four weeks remaining before the Missouri primary, some candidates for statewide office have built considerable war chests.
Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon easily leads the pack with more than $7.6 million in contributions, according to FollowTheMoney.org, which aggregates data from the Missouri Ethics Commission. Nixon faces two competitors in the Aug. 7 primary, Clay Thunderhawk and William Campbell, who have raised no money.
Dave Spence is second in Missouri with just less than $3 million in campaign contributions. The Republican gubernatorial challenger faces primary challengers Bill Randles, Fred Sauer and John D. Weiler. Randles reports $34,636 in contributions. Sauer has given himself $260,000, and Weiler reports no contributions.
If the past is any indication, expect those numbers to go much higher.
By the time Nixon defeated Republican challenger Kenny Hulshof in the 2008 governor’s race, he had raised more than $15 million — to Hulshof’s $8.5 million.
Edwin Bender, executive director of the National Institute on Money in State Politics, told Missouri Watchdog multi-million dollar campaigns are not uncommon, mostly because of the increasing costs of marketing. Missouri’s gubernatorial fundraising over the years puts it near the middle of the pack in the United States, Bender said.
“Candidates will raise enough to be viable for their office in their state,” he said.
A Thunderhawk versus Weiler battle in November would then be unlikely.
Spence leads one list – he’s the top contributor in Missouri after giving his own campaign $2 million. Next on that list is the
Democratic Governors Association, which gave $555,000 to Nixon’s campaign.
Anheuser-Busch has kicked in $213,073 to political campaigns, with $85,000 of that going to Nixon.
Other top Nixon contributors include: United Automobile Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America ($200,000), St. Louis law firm Carey & Denis ($133,481), statewide law firm Dollar, Burns & Becker ($112,000) and Springfield law firm Strong, Garner, Bauer PC ($105,000).
Spence’s top contributors include William Koman ($100,000), president of St. Louis real estate firm The Koman Group, and Robert O’Brien ($100,000), an executive at St. Louis construction firm OB Capital.
Six candidates for statewide office in Missouri have eclipsed the seven-figure mark in contributions. Others include incumbent Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster ($2,599,630), incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder ($2,578,132), Republican lieutenant governor challenger Brad Lager ($1,092,626) and Democratic incumbent Treasurer Clint Zweifel ($1,084,325).
Missouri’s 489 statewide candidates have reported about $28 million in contributions.
The top industry for giving is the category “Lawyers & Lobbyists,” with $3.65 million in donations.