Democrat Koster has more money for Missouri governor campaign than all GOP rivals combined

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JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri — Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster has more money for a campaign for Missouri governor than all of his Republican rivals combined, after announcing on Wednesday that he has nearly $4 million in his campaign account.

In comparison, the four GOP candidates and two others expected to run have about $3.7 million total in their accounts.

Koster, the only Democrat to have announced plans to run for the state's top office, has more than $3.9 million, according to campaign finance reports that cover the three months ending June 30.

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon is barred from seeking re-election because of term limits.

Koster's campaign committee spokesman Andrew Whalen said in a statement that Koster's fundraising "makes it clear that Missourians want a proven leader who will find bipartisan solutions to protect our communities, fully fund Missouri's schools, and rebuild our infrastructure."

Koster received just shy of $1 million in total contributions in the quarter and spent nearly $316,000. He's listed as having more than $51,000 in debt.

The GOP's top contenders in terms of fundraising so far are Catherine Hanaway, a former Missouri House Speaker and U.S. attorney, and Eric Greitens of St. Louis, a former Navy SEAL.

Hanaway spent about $115,000 in the same three-month period and raised more than $372,000 in total contributions, according to her finance report. She has more than $1.5 million to spend on her campaign.

Greitens, who has not yet officially announced plans to run for governor, raised more than twice as much as Hanaway during the past quarter — bringing in more than $791,000, his report shows. But Greitens also had less in cash than Hanaway, with about $1.1 million on hand. He spent roughly $112,000 and is listed as having about $7,000 in debt.

Koster's striking fundraising lead illustrates a key advantage he has over GOP hopefuls. As the lone Democrat making moves to run, he faces no in-party competition for donations. Republican contributors could be split among the array of GOP candidates.

In the Republican field, Hanaway, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, state Sen. Mike Parson of Bolivar and former state Rep. Randy Asbury all have announced their candidacies for governor.

Suburban St. Louis businessman John Brunner and Greitens are other Republicans expected to formally announce their candidacies later. Brunner said Tuesday he's hired about a dozen staffers for a campaign, including past political advisers to former Massachusetts governor and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Here's a look at the finances of the other Republicans.

— Parson raised more than $337,000 in total contributions and had nearly $727,000 on hand. He spent roughly $53,000.

— Brunner ended with more than $277,000 after starting the quarter with nothing. He raised nearly $435,000 and spent almost $140,000.

— Kinder has roughly $60,000 for his campaign and raised about $130,000. He spent nearly $71,000. An earlier report showed he had less than $57,000 in his campaign account at the start of April, but his most recent report notes he had only $830. A statement issued by a campaign adviser said Kinder asked his staff to conduct an internal review and notified the Missouri Ethics Commission of the discrepancy. Calls to his adviser from The Associated Press requesting further comment were not immediately returned Wednesday.

— Asbury brought in about $7,000 in the same period, spent roughly $8,000 and had $4,400 in cash on hand. Asbury's latest report lists him as having $7,550 in debt.

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