State senator ahead in Republican fund raising for state auditor

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Sen. John Loudon out-raised his fellow Republican opponent by more than $35,000 in recent months in the auditor's race, but both candidates say they're on the right track.

Loudon, of Chesterfield, and Rep. Jack Jackson, of Wildwood, are the only two announced Republicans seeking the seat. Auditor Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, said in late August that she would challenge U.S. Sen. Jim Talent rather than seek re-election next year.

"We're exceeding all our goals, and we're well on track," Loudon said Monday.

Loudon reported raising $90,465 for the latest period, which covered July 1 through Sept. 30. In all, he has raised more than $156,000 toward the election and had more than $170,000 on hand, which can include money carried over from previous years or campaigns.

Jackson said he collected $54,661 in the quarter, and raised more than $110,000 in all, with about $118,000 on hand. He said he spent the summer months meeting with individual donors but has ramped up fundraising efforts this fall, so he expects to significantly narrow the gap by Christmas.

"Yes, you have to have the money, but just putting a radio ad out there doesn't take the place of going and shaking hands," Jackson said.

So far, Susan Montee, the Buchanan County auditor, is the only Democrat who has announced plans to run. Others -- including Senate Democratic leader Maida Coleman of St. Louis, formerly of Sikeston, and assistant attorney general Jason Klumb, a former state House member -- have said they are considering the race but have not established campaign committees.

Quarterly campaign finance reports were due Saturday, but because the date fell on a weekend, candidates had until the end of business Monday to turn them in to the state Ethics Commission.

Montee, however, filed her report weeks ago, declaring just the $500,000 she loaned herself to kick-start her campaign.

Loudon and Jackson said they don't see her financial advantage as a problem should they eventually face her in the general election.

"Considering the track record of the last attorney that self-funded a big chunk of the campaign, I feel pretty good about it," quipped Loudon, referring to McCaskill, who loaned herself more than $1.6 million in her failed bid for governor last year.

"We will certainly have as much as it will take to have a successful campaign," Loudon said. "I think Missourians have shown you can't buy offices here."

Other candidates also filed finance reports.

Republican Gov. Matt Blunt reported raising $261,121 toward his 2008 bid for re-election. In all, he has raised $1.28 million, with $900,655 on hand as of Sept. 30. Blunt reported spending $110,942 in the quarter, including $45,000 for fundraising and $15,000 for research. He also said he spent $3,924 to charter private aircraft, continuing his policy of not using the state airplane, even for state-related business.

Democratic Attorney General Jay Nixon reported bringing in $103,500 in the quarter toward his re-election effort, with $180,922 on hand. Nixon also has said he is interested in challenging Blunt for governor.

Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan reported collecting $110,000 toward her 2008 contest, with about $111,000 on hand.

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