JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri — Missouri mega-donor Rex Sinquefield has provided the bulk of the money for Republican Catherine Hanaway's gubernatorial campaign as she seeks to catch up financially with other likely candidates for the 2016 race.
Hanaway's campaign reported a $750,000 contribution from Sinquefield on Wednesday, the same day that candidates were filing quarterly reports with Missouri Ethics Commission detailing their finances through the end of September.
The quarterly report showed that Hanaway, a former U.S. attorney in Missouri and speaker of the Missouri House, was well behind potential rivals in the amount of cash in her account. But the big check — coming after the quarterly reporting cut off — put her on more equal footing and provided what she described as "a tremendous boost to our fundraising efforts."
"I am thankful that Mr. Sinquefield supports the pro-growth agenda I have been working on since I was first elected to public office in 1998," Hanaway said in a written statement.
Sinquefield, an investment firm founder, is Missouri's most prolific political donor. His causes include income tax cuts and efforts to revamp public education with school-choice programs and limits on teacher tenure.
But the donation to Hanaway is by far Sinquefield's largest contribution to a candidate in recent years, though he has written bigger checks to finance conservative interest groups and ballot initiatives.
Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster also is running for governor and reported having $2.6 million in his campaign account as of the end of September, the most of any candidate for the 2016 races. Sinquefield contributed $325,000 to Koster's attorney general campaign during the 2012 elections, but he has not given to him since then.
Hanaway led the Republican takeover of the Missouri House in the 2002 elections, and she subsequently was chosen as the first female House speaker. After losing a bid for secretary of state in 2004, Hanaway was appointed by President George W. Bush as U.S. attorney for eastern Missouri. She resigned from that office in April 2009, and has worked in private legal practice since then.
Hanaway is the only declared Republican gubernatorial candidate, although State Auditor Tom Schweich could enter the race sometime after his November re-election bid. U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer also has said he will consider a gubernatorial bid.
Schweich, who faces no Democratic opposition in his re-election bid this year, reported having $1.2 million in his campaign account, which could be carried over to a potential gubernatorial race. Luetkemeyer reported more than $1 million in his campaign account.
Hanaway's quarterly report showed $424,018 in her account as of the end of September. Online records show she received the $750,000 check from Sinquefield on Monday, raising his total contribution to her campaign to $800,000.
Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Roy Temple said Sinquefield's large donation "sent a strong signal that he intends to pick the GOP nominee for governor."
Schweich political adviser Nathan Adams accused Sinquefield of "attempting to buy Missouri government" by bailing out a Hanaway campaign that he described as "in complete free fall."
Sinquefield also is getting involved in other races. Online Ethics Commission records show Sinquefield contributed $250,000 on Wednesday to the 2016 attorney general's campaign of Republican state Sen. Kurt Schaefer. That's in addition to $1 million Schaefer reported in his campaign account as of Sept. 30.
Republican State Sen. Eric Schmitt, who is running for state treasurer in 2016, reported having nearly $1.6 million as of the end of September, which includes $250,000 he received from Sinquefield in July.
Term-limited Republican House Speaker Tim Jones reported having about $1 million for a 2016 campaign for an unspecified statewide office.
Democratic Secretary of State Jason Kander reported having about $600,000 for his 2016 re-election campaign while Republican challenger state Sen. Will Kraus reported nearly $275,000 in his account, $25,000 of which came from a personal loan.
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