Nixon doubles cash available over Kinder

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has raised about twice as much money as Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, as the state’s top two executives build toward an expected faceoff in the 2012 gubernatorial election.

Finance figures released Friday by their campaigns show Nixon and Kinder each raised a considerable amount of money during the past three months, but Nixon raised more, widening his cash advantage.

Nixon, a Democrat, reported receipts of almost $1.5 million during the recent quarter, boosting his campaign account to $3.2 million. Kinder, a Republican, raised about $1 million during the quarter and had nearly $1.7 million in his account.

Although Kinder has not formally announced his candidacy for governor, he has said he will not seek re-election and is expected to challenge Nixon in next year’s elections.

The quarterly finance reports cover the period from April 1 through June 30, during which Kinder was dogged by media reports he had received taxpayer reimbursements for spending hundreds of nights at St. Louis hotels during his two terms as lieutenant governor. Kinder wrote the state a personal check roughly equivalent to his hotel expenses, then wrote the state an additional check after the auditor’s office said his original calculation was a little off.

Kinder ultimately repaid the state more than $54,000, an amount that his campaign attorney said should more than cover any lodging, meal or travel expenses that could possibly be questioned as political or personal.

All things considered, Kinder did fairly well in fundraising, said political science professor Peverill Squire of the University of Missouri-Columbia.

“Kinder’s numbers are probably about as good as you might expect. He’s had a tough couple of months and the Republicans are looking at a difficult fight,” Squire said. “The governor is well positioned and has a fair amount of money.”

Nixon’s campaign said he has received contributions from more than 2,300 individuals, including 1,500 contributions of $100 or less.

Unlike the federal government and many other states, Missouri does not limit the amount of money that candidates can receive from individuals, businesses or political action committees. Nixon and Kinder both have received five- and six-figure contributions from individuals or political groups.

Five of Missouri’s six statewide offices will be on the ballot in 2012. Of the candidates for those offices, Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster raised the most money — reporting $498,510 of receipts for the quarter and nearly $1.1 million in his campaign account as of the end of June.

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, who like Koster is a Democrat in his first-term, raised $219,290 during the past quarter and reported $534,189 in available cash at the end of June.

Republican House Speaker Steven Tilley, who formally announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor this week, reported raising $356,865 last quarter, with nearly $1.1 million in the bank. Democrat Becky Plattner, the chairwoman of the Missouri Conservation Commission and the only other declared lieutenant governor candidate, collected $26,915 during the past three months, which included a $20,000 loan from herself. Plattner had $15,962 of available cash.

Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan reported no cash contributions and just $300 of in-kind contributions. But Carnahan, who lost a bid for the U.S. Senate last year, still had $210,782 in the bank. Republican state Sen. Bill Stouffer, who has declared his candidacy for secretary of state, raised $17,095 during the past quarter and had $14,005 in his campaign account.

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