Hawley's campaign money for the U.S. Senate lags well behind McCaskill's total | St. Louis Public Radio

Hawley's campaign money for the U.S. Senate lags well behind McCaskill's total

Jan 31, 2018

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has bankrolled $1.2 million so far for his GOP bid to oust U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, who is regarded as among the nation’s most vulnerable Senate Democrats.

But Hawley’s fundraising pace is well behind that of McCaskill, who has amassed more cash than almost all other U.S. senators in the country on this fall’s ballot.

Hawley’s latest campaign-finance report, due today, showed that he collected almost $960,000 since Oct. 1.  That appears to be the most of any major Republican Senate challenger in the country; almost all appear to be lagging behind the Democratic incumbents they seek to replace.

McCaskill’s report, released a couple of weeks ago, showed she had raised about $2.9 million during the same period – a state record. She has slightly more than $9.1 million in the bank; only Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, has accumulated more with $9.2 million.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is the best-known Republican challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill
Credit Durrie Bouscaren & Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

National and state groups on both sides are closely watching the Missouri candidates’ finances, because the race could determine which party wins control of the U.S. Senate in November. Outside groups already are raising and spending money to aid or attack Hawley and McCaskill.

Both contenders are outpacing their counterparts in fundraising at the same point in 2016, when then-Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander challenged Republican U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.

Blunt, who went on to narrowly win in November 2016, had just over $5 million in the bank at the end of January 2016, compared to Kander’s $2.1 million. Kander had raised a litte more than $870,000 during the last quarter of 2015 – slightly behind Hawley’s latest money-raising total, although Kander had more in the bank.

Individual donors can give no more than $2,700 per election (primary and general) to Hawley and McCaskill, because of federal donation limits.

The Missouri Democratic Party accused Hawley of “embarrassingly low’’ money-raising numbers, while his campaign emphasized that Hawley had just formally kicked off his campaign last October.

Hawley also has about $1 million in his state campaign committee, but that money cannot be used to directly help his Senate campaign.

He can count on help from the SuperPAC known as Club for Growth Action Missouri, which filed an FEC report showing that it has raised $2 million to help his Senate bid. All of that money came from one donor, Illinois businessman Richard Uihlein, who has also donated to Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

Other congressional candidates report money-raising totals

At least three other potential Republican Senate hopefuls have filed their latest campaign reports:

  •  Austin Petersen has collected about $300,000 and has $25,000 in the bank.
  • Tony Monetti has raised about $224,000 and has $35,000 in the bank.
  • Courtland Sykes reported that he has raised about $14,000 overall (including a personal $9,000 loan) and has $1,800 in the bank.

The St. Louis region’s two members of the U.S. House also have filed their reports.

Democrat Lacy Clay of University City reported almost $302,000 in the bank, while Republican Ann Wagner reported about $3.3 million in the bank. She has been among Missouri’s top money-raisers, but Wagner's pace has slowed significantly since she announced last summer she had decided against running for the U.S. Senate. She collected less than $200,000 since last October.

Follow Jo on Twitter: @jmannies