Two Democrats hoping to wrest area legislative seats from the Republican Party reported strong fundraising since Oct. 1 in reports that were due Monday with election officials.
Michael Winder of Marquand, making his second bid for the 156th District Missouri House seat, raised $15,939 in the reporting period that ended Thursday. Of that amount, $6,750 came from labor union political action committees and $1,550 came from Democratic lawmakers hoping to add to their ranks.
Shelley Keeney of Marble Hill, Winder's opponent, wants to take over the seat from her boss, House Speaker Rod Jetton. Keeney, Jetton's legislative district aide, raised $11,273 in the reporting period, including $3,525 from Republican lawmakers or party committees and $2,700 from businesses that lobby the Missouri Legislature.
Keeney received an extra boost of $1,439 from the House Republican Campaign Committee as an in-kind donation and $15,049 the committee spent on independent advertising to promote her.
The latest reports bring Keeney and Winder close in total funds raised for the Nov. 4 election -- Keeney has brought in $61,977, while Winder has raised $58,306. But Keeney has saved much of her money for an apparent last-minute push. She had $33,541 on hand on Oct. 23, compared to $351 for Winder.
In the 159th District, the other area legislative contest where a Democrat hopes to take a GOP seat, former U.S. representative Bill Burlison took in $15,295 in the reporting period. That amount included a $10,000 loan to his own campaign. The loan brings Burlison's personal spending on the campaign to $44,100 out of $56,938 he has raised.
State Rep. Billy Pat Wright, R-Dexter, raised less in the period than Burlison -- $4,650 -- but he entered the month with far more on hand and better early fundraising totals. Wright has raised $87,320 for his re-election and hand $33,610 on hand with 12 days to go before the election. All of Wright's contributions in the period came from other Republicans or from business groups that lobby the legislature.
There are two other area legislative contests, but the Republican nominees face minor party opponents who have raised and spent little on the election. In the 157th District, three-term incumbent Rep. Scott Lipke of Jackson raised $1,760 during the period but spent only $861 and had $16,118 on hand. Lipke is opposed by Jennifer Friedrich of St. Mary of the Constitution Party. Friedrich reported to the Missouri Ethics Commission that she did not intend to raise or spend more than $500.
In the 158th District, where Republican nominee Clint Tracy survived a spirited three-way primary, he spent $369 in the first three weeks of the month for his race against Libertarian Party nominee Robert Roland. Tracy raised $8,714 in cash and in-kind contributions, much of it from business PACs and party officials.
State Sen. Jason Crowell, who is seeking re-election to his second term, reported raising $46,395 during the first three weeks of October for a total of $80,515 since Aug. 5. He spent $24,732 and had $107,049 in the bank.
All but $1,300 of Crowell's October itemized contributions came from outside the district. All but a small portion of the money from outside the district was donated by businesses or associations with lobbying efforts in the state Capitol.
Crowell is opposed by Democratic nominee Linda Sanders of Jackson. She did not file a report with the Missouri Ethics Commission by press time.
Cape contested races
In the three contested races in Cape Girardeau County, the GOP had the upper hand both in money raised during October and in total fundraising for the year.
District 2 Commissioner Jay Purcell, an incumbent Republican trying to fend off independent challenger Rock Finch, raised more than two times the amount Finch took in during the period. Purcell raised $10,525 in the period, including $5,000 from the Southeast Missouri Building Trades union and $1,250 from Arrowhead Steel, owned by Larry Payne.
Purcell has raised $21,997 since Finch joined the race and had $3,671 left.
Finch, who is making his first bid for office, took in $3,413. Of that amont, $1,938 was in-kind contributions, including $814.17 spent by Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle. Finch has raised a total of $17,910 and had $3,948 on hand.
In the District 1 race, where the contest is not as heated, Republican Paul Koeper took in $1,740, raising his total to $28,925. Most of Koeper's money was raised and spent during a 10-way primary, and he had $900 in the bank. Koeper's Democratic opponent, Marvin McMillan, took in $500 during the first three weeks of October and spent $2,977. McMillan has raised $9,570 and had $501 on hand on Oct. 23.
In the other county contested race, Democrat Deborah McBride-Young raised no money for her effort to oust Republican Roger Hudson from the treasurer's office. She had $56 on hand. Hudson, meanwhile, raised $790 during the reporting period. He has spent $9,534 on his race and had $3,170 on hand.