Democrats seeking Missouri Senate seat deliver first fundraising reports

While the major attention in the U.S. Senate race for the seat held since 2010 by Roy Blunt has been on jockeying among Republicans, two Democrats have raised substantial sums as they prepare for the August 2022 primary.

Attorney and former state Sen. Scott Sifton of Afton reported raising $302,088 since forming his campaign committee in February and he had $145,955 on hand as of March 31, a report filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission shows.

Marine Corps veteran and attorney Lucas Kunce of Independence has been almost as successful, taking in $280,990 since his campaign committee formed in early March. Kunce spent less than Sifton, leaving him with $194,015 on hand at the end of the first quarter.

Blunt announced on March 8 that he would not seek another term in the Senate. Sifton got into the race before Blunt made his decision, while Kunce jumped in when the seat became open.

The FEC filings for both candidates show a marked difference in their early fundraising. 

Of the cash contributions to Sifton, $24,780 were from out-of-state donors. 

Kunce, who works as director of national security policy at the Washington D.C.-based American Economic Liberties Project, raised only $16,425 of his cash contributions from donors within Missouri.

No other Democratic candidate has reported raising more than $10,000.

The spotlight since Blunt’s announcement has been on Republicans in part because the GOP has won 13 of 14 statewide elections since 2012. Additionally, the race marks the re-emergence of former Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned amid felony indictments and an impeachment inquiry in 2018.

Greitens’ first report to the Federal Election Commission shows he raised $9,363 from individual donors and donated use of his campaign website, which was valued at $18,000. He had $9,050 on hand as of March 31.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt, the only other prominent Republican who has announced he will file for Blunt’s seat, did not form a campaign committee until April 1 and will not report fundraising results until July.

Among other Republicans considering the race, U.S. Rep. Jason Smith of Salem is in the strongest financial position. Smith, who is holding a fundraiser later this month at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, had $1.4 million in his congressional campaign account on March 31, money that is available for a Senate campaign.

Two other Republican members of the Missouri congressional delegation reportedly considering the campaign had less than half that amount at the end of March.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner of St. Louis County had $621,674 in the bank, while U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Cass County was sitting on a campaign treasury of $678,085.

There are other Democrats, most prominently Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, and Republicans, including state Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, considering the race. Because of differences in campaign finance rules, money raised for state races cannot be easily transferred to a race for U.S. Senate.

This story was republished with permission from the Missouri Independent, a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering state government, politics and policy.

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