Bond swells war chest; Farmer compiles one

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Republican Sen. Kit Bond fattened his campaign war chest to $4 million, while Democratic state Treasurer Nancy Farmer socked away $383,650 to challenge the three-term incumbent, new fund-raising reports show.

Bond raised $1.5 million from July through September, bringing his total campaign contributions for the election cycle to $5.08 million. His cash on hand was $4 million.

Farmer, who announced her candidacy on July 25, raised $413,252 and reported $383,650 cash on hand.

She said she has no intention of raising as much money as Bond.

"But I hope to raise enough money to allow me to get my ideas across to voters," Farmer, 47, said in a statement. "And my first two months of talking with constituents and raising money leave me no doubt that I can do that."

Bond aide Jason Van Eaton said the senator's numbers "are impressive by any standard here in Missouri."

"Senator Bond is honored and encouraged by the level of support he is receiving from folks all over Missouri," Van Eaton said. He added that Bond, 64, is more focused right now on Senate measures such as highway, energy and spending bills.

U.S. Senate races were the marquee contests in Missouri in 2002 and 2000, but that is unlikely to be true in 2004. Missourians can expect to be inundated by the governor's race, with Democratic Gov. Bob Holden expecting a vigorous primary challenge from Democratic State Auditor Claire McCaskill. The winner likely will face Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt.

Presidential politics will also claim a share of the public's attention. President Bush will try to win Missouri as he did in 2000, when he claimed 50 percent of the vote to Al Gore's 47 percent. And Democratic Rep. Dick Gephardt is campaigning right now for his party's nomination to challenge Bush, which may draw more attention to the presidential race than usual in the bellwether state.

Money isn't everything, but it's important right now, said Brad Woodhouse, a spokesman for the Senate Democrats' campaign arm, an operation that plays a role in Senate races around the country.

"It's not just about money, but you've got to get in the game with money," Woodhouse said.

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