Four months before the November election, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is deploying her massive fundraising edge over GOP rival Josh Hawley to dramatically outspend him.
Since April 1, McCaskill has spent close to $3.6 million in her Democratic bid for a third term. That’s almost four times state Attorney General Hawley’s spending, which was just under $1 million.
The fact that all polls show their contest to be close signals why McCaskill is spending so much so early. The tight polls, and spending disparity also explain why outside groups are pouring in money to run ads for or against Hawley and McCaskill.
Her huge advantage in raising and spending money also provides a reason why President Donald Trump – who backs Hawley – plans to visit Missouri this month. And why Vice President Mike Pence is making two stops in the state in just over a week.
Documents verify McCaskill’s fiscal edge
The two candidates’ own spending tallies come from the duo’s official summary sheets for their latest campaign reports, which must be filed by Sunday with the Federal Election Commission.
Both candidates provided copies of the reports’ four-page summaries to St. Louis Public Radio. (The station requires documentation for all candidates’ campaign-finance figures.)
The reports show that – despite all her spending – McCaskill still had just under $12.3 million in the bank, as of June 30. That’s four times Hawley’s bank account of $3.02 million.
McCaskill is maintaining her blistering fundraising pace, raising $4.3 million since April 1. That’s among the highest of Senate Democrats running this year.
About $3.35 million of her new money came from individual donors, while most of the rest came from political action committees or transfers from other committees.
McCaskill also reported donating $22,795 of her own money, which reflects the cost of using her family’s plane.
Overall, McCaskill has raised close to $20 million since 2013, and spent around $10 million, most of it this year.
Hawley kicks up money-raising
Meanwhile, Hawley reported his strongest quarter to date – collecting just under $1.88 million. Of that amount, just under $1.4 million came from individual donors, while the rest came from political action committees or transfers from other committees.
Since he announced his candidacy last October, Hawley has raised $5.15 million – or a quarter of McCaskill’s overall tally.
So far, he has spent about $2.12 million overall.
Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies