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Despite Greitens' surge, Koster remains the top money-raiser in battle for Missouri governor

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster kicked off a public information campaign in St. Louis Monday to help Missourians claim their share of a $25 billion settlement with five of the nation's largest mortgage lenders.

The latest campaign-finance report for Attorney General Chris Koster, the only major Missouri Democratic candidate for governor, shows that he continues to outraise his 2016 rivals on both parties.

Koster reports almost $4 million in the bank after raising almost a $1 million during past three months. Both tallies are more than those reported by any of the Republicans – including likely candidate Eric Greitens, who appears to have the most momentum on the GOP side.

Koster’s official summary sheet, provided to St. Louis Public Radio, shows that he raised $967,955 since April 1, and now has $3.947 million in the bank. He spent $300,832, and has a debt of $51,280.

His strong showing means that the pace of Koster's money-raising has recovered after an apparent slowdown starting last fall, that may have been linked to a damaging story in The New York Times. The new numbers imply that news coverage has not inflicted a permanent political blow.

Koster’s bank account now is fatter than the combined total for the three top Republicans: Greitens, Catherine Hanaway and state Sen. Mike Parson.

Hanaway, a former Missouri House speaker and U.S. attorney, has the most money in the bank of any Republican: about $1.5 million.

That compares to Greitens’ $1.135 million. An author and former Navy SEAL, Greitens has yet to formally announce, but he is expected to so shortly. Greitens has never run for public office. He is traveling the state this week on what his campaign calls a "listening tour.''

As reported earlier, Greitens raised a significant sum over the past three months: $791,527. That's twice Hanaway’s three-month tally of $372,654.

But Hanaway’s money-raising was her strongest so far this year. She had halted fundraising for a month last winter after the February suicide of then-state Auditor Tom Schweich, who had been her chief rival for the 2016 GOP nomination.

Most GOP hopefuls outraise Kinder

Greitens has been raising money for only a few months. His report underscores that many of his top donors are out of state, including some major financiers on the East Coast.

Meanwhile, Hanaway has raised most of her money instate. But her biggest donor remains wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield, who has given close to $1 million to her campaign, although most of that money was given last year.

The latest campaign reports were due at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Among the other Republican candidates for governor:

---Parson, R-Bolivar, reported raising $335,481 during the quarter, with $726,729 in the bank.

-- St. Louis businessman John Brunner, who like Greitens has a "exploratory committee,''  reported raising $434,848 during the quarter, with $277,682 in the bank.

-- Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who announced Sunday, reported $58,866 in the bank after raising $129,701 during the quarter. Kinder acknowledged that there appeared to be "discrepancies'' with some of his previous finance-report totals, and that his campaign staff has been ordered to "conduct an internal review of all necessary records. If there is a need to amend previous reports, those amendments will be filed expeditiously."

Wagner reports strong tally

Among the region's members of Congress, Republican Ann Wagner continues to be the most prolific money-raiser.  Wagner, from Ballwin, reported raising $385,270 since April 1.  She now has $1.88 million in the bank.

Her announced Democratic challenger is state Rep. Bill Otto, D-Maryland Heights. His report was not yet available.

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