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Secretary of state's contest heats up, with Stouffer tossing in own money

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 17, 2011 - A central Missouri state senator tossed in a six-figure personal loan toward his bid to win the Republican nomination for secretary of state, as candidates in both parties seek to raise cash and their profiles. 

The renewed frenzy is prompted by the  incumbent Democrat, Robin Carnahan, who announced a few weeks ago that she's not seeking re-election.

Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, lent his campaign $150,000 during the fundraising quarter that ended September 30. Factoring in $28,805 he took in, and the $19,095.14 he spent during that three-month period, Stouffer reported $170,614 of cash on hand.

The other announced Republican candidate for secretary of state -- Sen. Scott Rupp, R-Wentzville -- raised $85,919.04 during the  fundraising quarter. After spending $16,759.94, Rupp has $96,210.60 of cash on hand.

Both Stouffer and Rupp announced their bids for secretary of state before Carnahan announced she would not run for a third term.

Other Republican names -- including House Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller, R-Willard -- have been floated since Carnahan's announcement.

[For what it's worth, Schoeller raised $45,544.90 and spent $4,256.13 during the fundraising period. He now has $38,336.68 of cash on hand.]

Each GOP candidate brings his own strengths to the primary. Stouffer, for instance, previously campaigned across a large portion of the state in a failed bid last year for the 4th District congressional seat now held by fellow Republican Vicky Hartzler. Rupp represents a fast-growing GOP stronghold in St. Charles County. And Schoeller hails from southwest Missouri, home to one of the state's largest contingent of Republican voters.

The only announced Democratic candidate for secretary of state -- state Rep. Jason Kander, D-Kansas City -- took in $68,514.53 and spent $2,195.56 during the fundraising quarter. Kander has more cash on hand, $232,888.45, than either Stouffer or Rupp.

It's worth noting that Carnahan said she wouldn't run for re-election on the last day of fundraising quarter, prompting Kander to declare his candidacy within the hour.

As the Beacon reported Saturday, Carnahan herself took in just $3 in cash -- and a total of $362 -- during the last three months. She still has $203,002.39 on hand in her account.

Jason Rosenbaum, a freelance journalist in St. Louis, covers state government and politics.

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.

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