Candidates for 24th District House seat raise a combined $57,000 before Dec. 31

Wednesday, January 16, 2008 | 8:12 p.m. CST; updated 6:54 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — Two candidates for the 24th District State Representative seat are already bringing in thousands of dollars.

Republican incumbent Rep. Ed Robb, according to his Jan. 15 quarterly report, raised about $10,000 between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31. He’s raised about $15,000 total for the Aug. 5 primary and has spent $3,800.

Democrat Chris Kelly raised about $27,000 between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31. He’s raised about $42,000 total and has spent $6,000.

Kelly, who served six terms in the Missouri House from 1982 to 1994 in the 23rd and 26th Districts, said he has received funds from 280 separate donors.

Kelly said 88 percent of his contributions are from Boone County, and he intends to get more money from 24th district constituents. Phone calls, letters and fundraising events have boosted Kelly’s total.

A list of Kelly’s campaign contributors shows that he is supported by lawyers, academicians and a few current and former public officials. Several contributors are retired.

Retired Columbia volunteer Elizabeth Winnacker has financially supported Kelly’s campaign. Winnacker, who said she was raised as a Democrat but would support a good Republican candidate, said she gave money to Kelly “because I’ve known him and liked him for many years and I think he’s been an excellent public servant.”

MU political science emeritus professor Paul Wallace agrees.

“Chris Kelly was a really good member of the state legislature when he served there before,” Wallace said. “He has a really good grasp of issues and policies, and our particular points of view are very close. He’s very articulate and intelligent and doesn’t hesitate to express himself.”

Robb, who has served two terms in the Missouri House, said he has yet to host a fundraiser in this election cycle or ask for individuals to contribute. He said he thinks once his fundraisers start in a few weeks, he will have no problem passing Kelly’s total contributions.

So far, most of Robb’s contributors stem from political action committees, including the Missouri Health Care Association, according to his report to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Robb’s advocates, such as the Missouri Soybean Association, said they think Robb has been a great MU supporter.

“Robb has done a lot of things for the long-term and the good of the state that we believe in, and we try to support those people we would like to see re-elected,” said executive director Dale Ludwig. He said the PAC tends to support candidates who are business-related, focusing on economic development.

However, some groups insist that a contribution to Robb’s campaign does not prevent them from giving to other candidates.

“We are a bipartisan organization,” said Jon Dolan, executive director for the Missouri Health Care Association, who gave $325 to Robb’s campaign. Dolan said the Health Care Association is willing to make contributions on both sides of the aisle, sometimes even in the same race.

Robb’s race against Democrat Jim Ritter, former superintendent of Columbia Public Schools, in 2006 turned out to be the most expensive state representative contest in state history. Combined, the candidates for the 24th District seat raised more than $325,000.

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