McCaskill achieves money record while losing to Blunt

Friday, December 3, 2004

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Missouri's most expensive gubernatorial race was won by the candidate who spent the least.

Campaign finance reports released Thursday show Democrat Claire McCaskill broke the state's individual fund-raising record while easily outspending Republican Matt Blunt. But Blunt won the Nov. 2 election with 51 percent of the vote.

Blunt, the secretary of state, raised nearly $9.2 million and spent a little over $9 million during his primary and general election campaign.

McCaskill, the state auditor, raised $11.6 million, including personal loans of $1.6 million, and spent $11.4 million when combining her primary and general election totals. McCaskill defeated Gov. Bob Holden in the Aug. 3 Democratic primary, while Blunt faced no serious primary competition.

"We were able to raise enough resources to run a successful campaign," said Blunt spokesman Spence Jackson. "I think it proves that the voters of this state were looking for a change in direction, and that they clearly identified more with the direction that Matt Blunt wants to lead the state."

McCaskill reported more than $250,000 still on hand as of Nov. 27, compared to roughly $67,000 for Blunt. But a McCaskill spokesman said she has no regrets about not spending more.

"She set records all across the board in the amounts she was raising. She ran a very competitive and spirited campaign," spokesman Glenn Campbell said. "But you know, money doesn't always win it, and there was a lot to overcome in this race."

Among other things, Campbell cited President Bush's 7 percentage point victory over Democrat John Kerry in Missouri -- a natural pull for other Republican candidates.

McCaskill's $11.4 million in campaign expenditures eclipsed Holden's record of nearly $10 million in his 2000 gubernatorial victory over Republican Jim Talent.

When Holden's primary campaign totals are included, Missouri's 2004 gubernatorial candidates raised and spent a total of $28 million -- shattering the record of roughly $19 million from the 2000 contest.

Jackson attributed the new record to "the natural cost of elections going up."

While McCaskill boasted more money overall, Blunt actually raised and spent more in the final days of the campaign.

The finance reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission show Blunt raised more than $1.9 million and spent nearly $2.4 million since Oct. 22. McCaskill, meanwhile, raised less than $560,000 and spent about $477,000 during that period. She also contributed $100,000 to the state Democratic Party. Last minute campaign expenditures can sometimes be misleading, because candidates can purchase advertising time in advance.

McCaskill's report shows she still has not paid back her personal loans. Campbell said she is not focused on doing so.


On the Net:

Ethics Commission: http://www.moethics.state.mo.us

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