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Document: Missouri Candidates' 8-Days-Before-Election Campaign Finance Reports

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How much money statewide political candidates' campaigns have received ahead of the Nov. 3 election is not necessarily what it may appear at first glance of the most recent campaign finance reports.

In filings to the Missouri Ethics Commission, some campaigns have separated contributions received ahead of the Aug. 4 primary from those received after for the Nov. 3 general election, while others have not.

MEC officials told the News Tribune the commission suggests candidates' campaigns separate those totals, but the campaigns don't have to do so.

That means observers are sometimes required to do some number crunching between filed campaign finance reports to get a full picture of the size of candidates' war chests.

For example, looking only at reports filed eight days before the upcoming November election would suggest Republican Gov. Mike Parson's gubernatorial campaign had raised more in total than Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway's campaign.

However, the more than $5.6 million total raised through Oct. 22 by Parson's campaign included additions to money received before the Aug. 4 primary.

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Galloway's campaign reset its total after the primary, campaign spokesman Kevin Donohoe said. That means, in total, Galloway's campaign has received more than $7.7 million through Oct. 22.

That also explains why, as of Aug. 29, more than $4.5 million had been raised by her campaign, but then the total as of Sept. 30 fell to approximately $2.3 million — despite more than $1.5 million having been contributed over the month between.

Aug. 29 is the last day reflected in candidates' 30-day after primary report filed with the Ethics Commission, and it includes the primary and more than a week of fundraising before it. Sept. 30 is the last day reflected in candidates' October quarterly finance report filed in the middle of this month.

The reports filed this week reflect contributions received Oct. 1-22.

Betsy Byers, MEC's director of compliance and education, said the way state law about campaign activity reporting is written means campaigns are not necessarily prohibited from not separating primary and general election contribution receipt totals.

Byers added, however, "We suggest they do, because at that point it's a way to cut off and start anew."

She also said campaigns are not required to report to MEC their decision of which approach to take.

The choice to keep adding to pre-primary contributions received is not a partisan one or one limited to the governor's race.

The campaign of the Libertarian gubernatorial candidate did not separate pre- and post-primary receipt totals and neither did the campaigns of the Republican and Democratic candidates in the statewide races for lieutenant governor, secretary of state and state treasurer.

Reports for other candidates were not immediately available to be able to make that determination.

The Republican and Democratic candidates running for a full term as attorney general did reset their receipt totals after the primary — reflected by a drop in the totals between their 30-day after primary and October quarterly reports, despite more contributions coming in.

The governor's race is just the one in which all the candidates' campaigns did not happen to make the same choice of which approach to take.

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