Lister Leads Field in Money Primary
April 18, 2016

(AP) – Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster’s most recent fundraising has exceeded the combined total of all his Republican opponents in the race for Missouri governor, reports filed Friday with the Missouri Ethics Commission show.

Koster raised $2.2 million in cash and in-kind donations between the beginning of the year and the end of March, while his four Republican rivals raised just under $2.1 million. Koster’s $7.4 million in cash on hand is also larger than any of his GOP opponents’ campaign accounts.

Former Navy SEAL officer Eric Greitens topped the Republican field with about $1 million in donations, bringing his cash on hand to $4.1 million.

Former U.S. attorney and Missouri House speaker Catherine Hanaway reported raising about $558,000, but more than half of that came from in-kind contributions rather than cash, including $241,520 from the Missouri Club for Growth Political Action Committee. That donation was for radio ads that ran from February through the end of March, mostly on Christian and conservative talk radio programs, Hanaway spokesman Nick Maddux said.

Hanaway’s ended the quarter with more than $1.5 million on hand.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder raised about $332,000 this period, leaving him with about $624,000 in cash on hand.

St. Louis businessman John Brunner raised about $163,000. Although he raised the least in the Republican field, he has demonstrated an ability to self-fund his campaign. He spent more than $7.5 million of his own money on an unsuccessful race for U.S. Senate in 2012, and so far he has poured more than $3.7 million into this race.

Brunner’s campaign spent about $522,000 this quarter, topping the field. Koster’s campaign spent about $510,000, while Greitens spent about $320,000.

Greitens’ has faced criticism for not returning $1 million given to him in previous quarters from a donor accused of sexual abuse. The donor, Michael L. Goguen, has denied the allegations and does not appear on this quarter’s list of contributions.

Hanaway’s campaign spending, which does not include the radio ads, exceeded $207,000. Kinder spent about $149,000.

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon is barred from re-election because of term limits. The state’s primary elections are August 2.

Voters will also choose party nominees for new lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state – none of which have incumbent candidates this year.

Why Money Can’t Buy you Live, or Votes
November 11, 2012

ST. LOUIS • What can you get for $6.6 million these days?
Not the Missouri governor’s office, as it turns out.

That’s how much Republican gubernatorial nominee Dave Spence spent from his personal fortune in his failed attempt to topple Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon in Tuesday’s election. For his trouble, Spence lost by a 12-point margin. His final personal tab: More than $5 per vote.

Spence’s expensive loss came on the heels of businessman John Brunner’s even more expensive one in Missouri’s August GOP primary for the U.S. Senate. After spending some $8 million of own money, Brunner — a political novice, like Spence — finished second to underfinanced Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Akin. Akin went on to lose the general election by almost 16 points to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill Tuesday.

It’s been said that money is the lifeblood of politics, and McCaskill’s 4-to-1 campaign funding advantage over Akin certainly was a key factor in her victory last week.

But the fates of Spence, Brunner, and other inexperienced but wealthy candidates around the country once again show the limits of the almighty dollar against the multifaceted demands of politics. “People who are successful in life are the best people to have in office … because of their skill sets,” said Jeff Roe, a Kansas City-based Republican political consultant.

But as candidates, they often run into problems, Roe said, most of them self-inflicted. “They have to learn that their instincts aren’t always correct.”


Brunner went into the summer primaries expecting to spend millions of his own money, and did, only to find it wasn’t enough to overcome Akin’s years of local connection-building among rural conservatives who can sway a GOP primary.
“There is a real advantage to having been around and having met people who make local politics work,” said Republican political consultant John Hancock, who was a Brunner adviser. “This is a kind of political capital that is in some respects as important as money.”

Spence didn’t expect to spend what he did, but ended up doing it to “finish what I started” when outside money dried up — a development he blames on media distracted by Akin’s controversial Senate run.

“I did what I had to do,” Spence said of his personal spending. “I didn’t like it. It didn’t feel good.”

They join a perennial club in American politics: self-funding newbie politicians who hope their money will allow them to bypass the lower rungs of the political ladder and go right to the upper levels.

Sometimes it works. There’s a reason more than half the members of the U.S. Senate are millionaires.

When self-funded candidates with no political experience lose, said Roe, it’s often because of “how they are used to administering their businesses, and how that translates into a campaign.”
For a serious high-level campaign, they have to trade in the trusted partners and employees from their business lives for “those who practice the dark arts” — political consultants. And then, just as difficult, they have to listen to them.

Roe said successful businessmen can have a difficult time doing that, in part because of the big personalities common among entrepreneurs.

“They’re very competitive people. It takes a certain amount of self-confidence to do this,” said Roe. So once the inevitable frustration with the consultants sets in, “they sometimes they think, ‘I know how to do this better, anyway.’”

They often don’t.

“They want to see results. ‘How many (voting percentage) points can I get for how much money?’ It doesn’t work that way, but they think it does because that’s their experience,” said Roe. “I literally had a guy say once, ‘I want to spend how much it costs to win 51 percent. I don’t want to fund a landslide.’ It doesn’t work that way.”

Hancock said Brunner was never that naive about the magic that his money could work, and that he was a quick study in the new world of politics.

“He really took to it well,” said Hancock. “I know he thoroughly enjoyed the process of running for office. Not everyone does.”

Brunner couldn’t be reached for comment.


Randles and Spence File for GOP Governor Primary
February 28, 2012

As expected, both St. Louis businessman Dave Spence and Liberty Attorney Bill Randles filed for Governor this morning.
Randles has spent much of the last year traveling Missouri to build a grass-roots campaign for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
Spence entered the race last fall.
He is expected to use some of his own wealth to finance the campaign. He has already started advertising statewide.
Missouri democrats have trained most of their fire on Spence.
They question his role in a TARP bailout for a St. Louis bank when Spence was a member of the Board.
Spence also made headlines recently when it was revealed his ‘economics degree’ he posted in his biography was a home economics degree.

Martin Decides to Stay in Congressional race, Passes on Bid for Governor
December 10, 2011

From the St. Louis Beacon via johncombest:

A supportive Facebook page notwithstanding, St. Louis lawyer Ed Martin has decided against running for Missouri governor and will stick with his current Republican quest for the 2nd District congressional seat, a spokesman says.
“He will not be running for governor,” spokesman Rush James said today. “Ed’s intention is to change Washington, and that has been his focus from the beginning.”
Martin had touched off a flurry of talk after his radio appearance on KMOX (1120 AM) a week ago, in which he said he was considering yet another campaign switch in the wake of encouragement to run for governor.
James acknowledged that the campaign “sat down and discussed it,” but ultimately Martin decided to stick with his congressional campaign. He is competing against former Ambassador Ann Wagner, a former state GOP chief who has outpaced Martin in fundraising and in endorsements.
Martin earlier had been a candidate for the U.S. Senate when he shifted to the House contest months ago. Martin lately also had been seen as a potential contender for lieutenant governor, during the GOP frenzy following House Speaker Steve Tilley’s surprise decision last month to drop out.
Among the reasons for the talk has been the list of prominent Republicans who have signed on as “friends” on the Facebook page “Draft Martin for Governor’,” the creation of which has been tied by some to Martin allies.
Those who have signed up as “friends” to the page, or posted complimentary comments, include state Sens. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, and Brian Nieves, R-Washington, former state Rep. Allen Icet, current state Rep. Paul Curtman, Missouri Right to Life president Pam Fichter and former state Rep. Carl Bearden, who now heads a fiscally conservative group, United For Missouri.