Jason Smith, a Republican from Salem, Mo., who is serving as speaker pro tem in the Missouri House of Representatives, has raised $308,000 since he was nominated Feb. 9 by a congressional committee, according to a news release from his campaign.
State Rep. Steve Hodges, a Democrat from East Prairie, Mo., raised $121,000 in the last 20 days of March, his campaign manager, Jake Breymaier, said in a release.
A special election to fill the seat will be June 4. The vacancy was created in January when Jo Ann Emerson, Missouri's longest-serving member of Congress, resigned to begin a new job as CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
The first quarterly report candidates must file April 15 with the Federal Election Commission will show details of contributions made through March 31. Candidates' principal campaign committees also are required to file 48-hour notices with the FEC starting May 16, which will show contributions of $1,000 or more received after the 20th day, but more than 48 hours, before the day of the election.
Of contributions made so far to Hodges' campaign, Breymaier said that "nearly $98,000 of the total raised came from more than 250 individual donors," which shows "that Hodges is building a strong grassroots network of support."
Smith's campaign said contributions to his campaign came from each of the district's 30 counties and Smith "opened his campaign in very strong financial shape."
In the first week after he was nominated, Smith reported raising more than $40,000 on the first full day of his campaign and has said his goal for the race is to raise between $800,000 and $1 million.
Hodges was tapped as the Democrats' nominee a week after Smith's nomination.
Past races for the 8th Congressional District have seen election bids cost upward of $1 million for each candidate, most notably in 2010 when Emerson raised more than $1.8 million, while her Democratic opponent Tommy Sowers raised more than $1.5 million. But those races lasted, in some cases, a year. Only 56 days remain until voters head to the polls in June.
On Monday, Smith said he spent the last four days campaigning in Cape Girardeau, where he attended several events and also has opened a campaign headquarters office. Hodges is planning to attend a question-and-answer session with a Chaffee, Mo., nonpartisan political group, SEMO 10, at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Chaffee VFW hall, according to a news release from the group. The event is open to the public, and will include questions for Hodges over a range of topics, including abortion, spending and gun control.
Both Hodges and Smith, along with Libertarian Party candidate Bill Slantz, Constitution Party candidate Doug Enyart and several write-in candidates, are planning to participate in a public forum hosted by the League of Women Voters and KRCU radio on April 25 at the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center.
Smith recently received several boosts of support through endorsements by statewide agricultural groups, including the Missouri Farm Bureau, the Missouri Cattlemen's Association and the Missouri Corn Growers Association.
Breymaier pointed to Hodges' business experience as a former longtime grocery store owner and his conservative reputation through past Missouri Right to Life endorsements and National Rifle Association membership in Monday's release.
"Our supporters know that Steve is the only candidate with the conservative fiscal and management experience to fix the mess created by Washington politicians," Breymaier wrote in the release. "Our fundraising numbers and continued momentum reflect that conviction."
Smith also has been rated "solidly pro-gun" by the NRA and has the Missouri Right to Life political action committee's endorsement in his bid for Congress.
Hodges' campaign on Monday said $4,332 raised has been spent so far, leaving $117,293 cash on hand.
Smith's top campaign contributors in his November 2012 bid for re-election to the Missouri House of Representatives were Rex Sinquefield, a retired financial executive who gave millions to political campaigns in 2012 and heads the Missouri-based conservative think tank Show Me Institute; health-care political action committees; and utility service and manufacturing businesses. Hodges' largest contributors were manufacturing and agricultural businesses, labor unions, education groups and individuals.
East Prairie, Mo.