A look at Senate fundraising numbers as second quarter deadline approaches

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – With one week left until the second quarter fundraising deadline, only two candidates have announced the amount of money they’ve raised: Attorney General Eric Schmitt and former Marine Lucas Kunce.

Schmitt’s campaign announced a “record breaking quarter” on July 1, saying he has raised $1.3 million in the first three months of his candidacy. 

Since announcing his bid for Senate, Schmitt has criticized President Joe Biden on the current border crisis, election integrity and Second Amendment issues – a move bound to resonate with voters as Biden lost Missouri by over 15 points in the 2020 election.

Schmitt has also showcased his record as Attorney General and his efforts towards community outreach. Perhaps the most important “donation” that Schmitt and other republicans will be looking for is the endorsement of former President Donald Trump.

On July 1, Kunce announced that he raised a total of $630,000 in the second quarter. According to his campaign, the former Marine had over 20,000 total donations with 99 percent of them being under $200.

Kunce has focused his messaging on being a political outsider and often highlights the fact that none of his money has come from PACs. He has also worked with democratic organizations across Missouri to put efforts towards flipping the staunchly conservative state.

These efforts seemed to be paying off as Kunce has been endorsed by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

Other Senate candidates that haven’t announced fundraising numbers yet include former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, former State Senator Scott Sifton, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, Rik Combs and Mark McCloskey. However, with the election not taking place until next year, there is still plenty of time for other candidates on both sides to join the race.

One name that may be familiar to most Missourians is former NASCAR driver and Columbia native Carl Edwards. Edwards told the Kansas City Star there “might be a day” he gets into politics, but it remains unknown if he will throw his name into the field for U.S. Senate.

Congresswoman for Missouri’s 2nd District and former U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg Ann Wagner is another potential candidate on the Republican side. Wagner did well financially in her reelection bid in 2020, raising millions of dollars to eventually pull off an exciting win in a heavily contested race. As of December 31, 2020, she had about $113,000 on hand.

There has also been speculation Congressman Billy Long could join the race, and he too has a healthy amount of cash on hand. At the end of 2020, Long reportedly had $475,000.

However, the clear fundraising front runner out of Missouri’s congressional delegation comes from the 8th District. Congressman Jason Smith, who has been heavily speculated as a Senate candidate for months, reported an impressive $1.5 million on hand at the end of 2020.

Other candidates rumored to run include former Missouri Attorney General and 2016 nominee for governor Chris Koster, former Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas.

Despite all of the talk about fundraising, elections are not definitively determined by who raises the most money. The last Senate election in Missouri is a prime example. In 2018, Claire McCaskill raised $39 million to Sen. Josh Hawley’s $11 million, yet Hawley ended up winning by roughly 6 points.

As the second quarter fundraising deadline gets closer, voters should expect more news and announcements of money on hand from the candidate field. 

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