Excluding the independent spending by outside groups, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jason Kander is still out-raising the man he hopes to defeat, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. But in one of the nation’s most closely watched Senate contests, Blunt is the bigger spender as the duo head into their final weeks before the Nov. 8 election.
The latest campaign finance reports – made public by both contenders a few days early – show that Kander has collected just over $3 million since July. That compares to close to $1.9 million for Blunt.
Both men also are counting on help from their respective state parties, who have money in their “federal’’ accounts that are designed to be spent to help congressional candidates. Blunt’s campaign says the state GOP “has raised over $1 million this quarter.”
Kander’s spokeswoman says the state Democratic Party has about $750,000 in a similar account.
The parties’ money could not be documented, since their reports are not due until Saturday.
Blunt and Kander’s reports also are not due until Saturday, but both campaigns provided St. Louis Public Radio with advanced copies of their summary sheets to verify their finances.
Blunt enters the final weeks of the campaign with more in the bank. He is reporting almost $4.1 million on hand, compared $3.5 million for Kander.
But Blunt is spending at a faster pace. Since July, his reports show he has spent about $4.5 million, compared to $3.4 million for Kander.
Since their campaigns' began, Blunt reports raising $14.6 million and spending $11.2 million. Kander, who announced about 18 months ago, has raised $9.3 million and has spent $5.84 million.
Both men have been getting help from outside groups who have been running independent ad campaigns – most of them blasting Blunt or Kander.
On Tuesday, two progressive groups – VoteVets and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) — announced they were launching a joint $1.5 million ad campaign that attacks Blunt and lauds Kander.
Meanwhile, the Missouri arm of the conservative Americans for Prosperity says it has been circulating tens of thousands of fliers on Blunt’s behalf.