With months left before filing even begins for the state's August 2008 primary election, incumbent Republican state Rep. Ellen Brandom of the 160th District already has a huge fundraising edge on anyone who might challenge her for her post.
Brandom, who was first elected in 2006, has already raised more than $40,000 for her re-election bid under her Friends of Ellen Brandom campaign committee, according to the latest financial disclosure form released last month. The contributions come from a variety of sources, including monetary donations from party campaign committees in other districts and other candidate committees, including Perryville Rep. Steve Tilley. Tilley's Friends of Tilley committee gave $500 to Brandom's campaign July 18. State Sen. Jason Crowell's campaign contributed $325.
The report also lists an in-kind contribution from the candidate herself for $2,596.63.
Missouri Republican Party executive director Jared Craighead said Brandom's possession of a large war chest this early in the game doesn't necessarily mean the party is gearing up for a strong Democratic challenge in the district, which covers parts of Cape Girardeau, Scott, Mississippi and New Madrid counties.
"Responsible incumbent candidates do the best the can to collect support from as many Missourians as they can as often as they can," Craighead said. Part of the campaign process is raising money, and responsible candidates collect as much as they can, he said.
Craighead said he couldn't comment on Brandom's donations from other candidates and legislative district committees because he hadn't examined her report. As for whether Brandom's $40,000 raised is an unusually high amount, Craighead said the party hasn't taken stock of what its incumbent candidates have raised.
The state Democratic party reports no candidates have committed to run against Brandom. In 2006, she outraised her opponent Larry Tetley of Sikeston by a 4-1 margin.
Brandom's campaign has raised more money than incumbents in her neighboring districts so far. Friends of Steve Hodges, the campaign committee for 161st District Rep. Steve Hodges, a Democrat elected in 2006, reported just over $10,000 raised in its October report.
Incumbent Republican 159th District Rep. Billy Pat Wright's campaign reports almost $19,000 raised. Incumbent Republican 157th District Rep. Scott Lipke's campaign reported over $27,000 raised in the last reporting period.
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