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McCaskill attracts donors from outside Missouri

Less than half of the donors who’ve given U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill more than $200 for her re-election bid next year came from Missouri. Many others contributed from California, New York, Illinois and other states.
Less than half of the donors who’ve given U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill more than $200 for her re-election bid next year came from Missouri. Many others contributed from California, New York, Illinois and other states. along@kcstar.com

Claire McCaskill’s Senate campaign is getting far more money from outside Missouri than from in-state donors.

Among the individual contributions of more than $200 to the embattled Democratic senator since January, 42 percent came from Missouri. McCaskill is seeking a third Senate term next year.

Donors in California have given McCaskill $576,215, New Yorkers have given $570,960 and Illinois residents contributed $388,738. She’s raised $88,697 from Washington, D.C., and almost $150,000 from Kansans.

It’s common for senators running for re-election to raise more money out of state than their challengers, since they tend to have higher national profiles and more established donor networks.

McCaskill’s race is likely to draw even more out-of-state funding than usual because she’s widely considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats next year. Her fate could help determine the balance of power in the Senate, where Republicans now control 52 of the 100 seats.

Since January, McCaskill has raised about $4.5 million from individuals who donated more than $200. Nearly $2 million of those contributions came from Missouri, according to Federal Election Commission data.

In the most recent fundraising quarter, from July through September, McCaskill had 8,816 donors from Missouri compared to 193 reported by Missouri’s top Republican Senate recruit, Attorney General Josh Hawley.

Hawley, who didn’t start fundraising for a Senate campaign until early August, has collected about $800,000 from individual donors in amounts of more than $200. Eighty percent of Hawley’s individual contributions came from Missouri.

Hawley’s average donation was $2,365, while McCaskill’s was $59.

“It’s not hard to fundraise in Missouri when so many people are opening their checkbooks to get rid of Senator McCaskill,” said Hawley’s spokesperson, Scott Paradise.

McCaskill’s campaign countered by smacking Hawley for “raising money behind closed doors with millionaires and special interest groups,” a reference to the fact some of Missouri’s most prominent Republican donors — including Rex Sinquefield, David Humphreys and Sam Fox — already maxed out their individual contributions to Hawley’s campaign.

After a town hall gathering Tuesday in Independence, Senator Claire McCaskill was critical of Republican opponent Josh Hawley.

“It’s no wonder his average donation is over $2,000 — it’s clear his high-dollar donors are the only ones Hawley actually cares about,” said Meira Bernstein, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Democratic Party who is authorized to speak for McCaskill’s campaign.

McCaskill’s lower percentage of Missouri donors could reflect the fact that the federal government doesn’t collect geographical information from individual donors who give less than $200.

Nearly 40 percent of McCaskill’s individual donations so far this year came from these small-dollar donors, whereas less than 1 percent of the funds Hawley raised from individuals were small-dollar donations.

Austin Petersen, a Libertarian presidential candidate who’s running as a Republican for Senate in Missouri, also slammed Hawley for relying heavily on large donors. Petersen’s campaign said his donations average around $50. He’s raised about $200,000.

“Austin is supported by real Missourians, while Hawley is funded by D.C. insiders and the establishment political machine of millionaires, PACs and special interest groups,” Jeffrey Carson, Petersen’s campaign manager, said in an email.

The FEC has yet to post a geographical breakdown for Petersen’s donations, and Carson said the campaign didn’t have those percentages readily available.

Tony Monetti, another Republican contender, reported 15.5 percent of individual donations over $200 coming from Missouri. A large chunk of his contributions came from Houston, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where donors in the two areas gave about $22,000.

Monetti has raised $163,000 so far. About $130,000 came from individuals who gave more than $200. Monetti retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel before becoming executive director of University of Central Missouri’s Skyhaven Airport and Aviation program.

“Lt. Col. Monetti has a vast network of friends and supporters all over the country from his long and distinguished career in the military,” said Jim Dornan, a spokesman for Monetti’s campaign. “It’s quite common for a first time candidate who is not a politician to turn to these friends for financial support.”

Dornan said Monetti’s campaign is confident that as Missourians get to know him, “the percentage of the money from in state will certainly surpass the donations from outside the state.”

Lindsay Wise: 202-383-6007, @lindsaywise

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