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McCaskill raises more than $4 million for re-election bid

McCaskill raises more than $4 million for re-election bid

July 11th, 2018 by Summer Ballentine, Associated Press in Missouri News

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., speaks at the dedication for Gateway Arch National Park Tuesday, July 3, 2018, in St. Louis.

Photo by Associated Press /News Tribune.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill raised more than double the money her top Republican challenger did in the last quarter, though GOP candidate Josh Hawley is getting a hand from President Donald Trump.

McCaskill's campaign on Wednesday said she raised more than $4.3 million between April and the end of June. That dwarfs the $1.87 million that Hawley campaign spokeswoman Kelli Ford said the state attorney general raised.

McCaskill is viewed as one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats facing re-election this year and is vying for a third term in a state President Donald Trump won by nearly 19 percentage points two years ago.

She has roughly four times the cash to spend on her re-election bid than Hawley does, with more than $12.2 million compared to Hawley's roughly $3 million.

McCaskill spokesman Eric Mee in a statement said Missourians are "turning out in record numbers to keep her fighting for them in the Senate," while Ford decried McCaskill as "the candidate of Big Money."

Neither campaign immediately replied to inquiries Wednesday about how much was spent last quarter.

Hawley is getting help from Trump, who is scheduled to attend a July 24 fundraiser for Hawley in Kansas City, according to an invitation on a county Republican Party website. Tickets range from $2,000 to $25,000 per couple in contributions to a joint fundraising committee set up for Hawley.

Trump also headlined a fundraiser for Hawley in March.

Still, Hawley would need to raise a sizeable amount to catch up to McCaskill. She's had years to build up a war chest, and has been raking in millions every quarter.

Despite trailing McCaskill, Missouri Republican consultant John Hancock said Hawley likely will have enough money to put out his message.

"We've known all along that McCaskill was going to be a fundraising machine, and she's also an incumbent," he said. "So the race has never been about having more money than your opponent, it's always about having enough money to get the job done. And it seems like Josh is on track here."

Outside groups are expected to spend heavily on the race. That could help offset McCaskill's financial advantage if Hawley continues to lag in campaign fundraising, although the Democrat also likely will get outside support.

A Democratic political action committee started running ads attacking Hawley months ago, and the Republican group Missouri Rising Action announced a roughly $1 million television ad buy against McCaskill on Wednesday, according to spokeswoman Samantha Cotten.