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Missouri Republicans in U.S. House raise far more money than remaining Democrats

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 17, 2013: As expected, first-term U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner has blown away her Missouri colleagues in the House, when it comes to raising campaign money.

Reports filed this week confirm that Wagner, R-Ballwin, raised more than twice as much this spring as her nearest money-raising rival in the House – fellow Republican Billy Long of Springfield.

And her bank account is, by far, fatter than any fellow congressman from Missouri. (Wagner likely bolstered her tally with a fundraising event this week featuring the House's No. 2 official, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.)

That said, U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, has quietly amassed $637,216 in the bank – prompting even louder whispers about the possibility that he might run for statewide office in 2016. Luetkemeyer could use his congressional money to run for statewide office. (But not in reverse, because of stricter federal campaign-finance laws.)

There has been persistent behind-the-scenes talk for months that Luetkemeyer is getting encouragement to run for governor, as Republicans seek a strong contender against the likely Democrat, Attorney General Chris Koster.

So far, Luetkemeyer has said little on the subject. His district, the new 3rd District, now takes in a large chunk of suburban St. Louis.

With one exception, all of the Missouri Republicans in the U.S. House have saved up more campaign money than the two remaining Democrats: William Lacy Clay of St. Louis and Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City.

Clay reported this week that he has $169,777 on hand, compared to $119,219 for Cleaver.

Since redistricting, Missouri's congressional delegation is now made up of six Republicans and two Democrats. Redistricting did away with the district of Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis., who lost a bid to oust Clay in 2012.

The only Missouri Republican with less in the bank is newcomer Jason Smith, R-Salem, who was sworn in about six weeks ago. Smith reported only $15,438 left over, after spending $397,383 in his special election contest June 4, in which he handily defeated Democrat Steve Hodges.

Because members of the U.S. House are up for election every two years, their campaign operations are constantly in place, and fundraising activities are frequent. Their campaign reports also are filed directly with the Federal Election Commission.

That’s not the case with U.S. senators, who first turn in their reports to their chamber’s clerk, who then send it on the Federal Election Commission.

So far, the latest campaign reports from Missouri’s two members of the U.S. Senate – Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Claire McCaskill – have yet to show up on the FEC's website.

They have not released any copies on their own, perhaps reflecting the fact that there's less political urgency since neither is on the 2014 ballot. Blunt next faces election in 2016, and McCaskill’s tenure runs through 2018.

Latest campaign finances for Missourians in U.S. House

That said, here's a summary of the latest campaign-finance figures filed by the eight Missouri members of the U.S. House. The money raised and spent refers to activity from April 1 through June 30:

William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis: $85,414 raised, $58,530 spent, $169,777 on hand

Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City: $116,245 raised, $126,567 spent, $119,219 in bank

Sam Graves, R-Tarkio: $180,884, $131,332 spent, $381,593 in bank

Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville: $121,163 raised, $54,935 spent, $320,417 in bank

Billy Long, R-Springfield: $204,952 raised, $70,563 spent, $526,457 on hand.

Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth: $97,050 raised, $32,798 spent, $637,216 in bank

Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin: $452,462 raised, $117,788 spent, $766,022 in bank

Jason Smith, R-Salem: $1,450 raised, $5,147 spent, $15,438 in bank

(Smith's final tally for the June 4 special election, according to a separate post-election filing: $188,372 raised, $397,383 spent, $19,136 left over)

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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