24th District race continues expensive trend

Sunday, July 20, 2008 | 4:27 p.m. CDT; updated 4:07 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — With almost four months to go until election day, the 24th district race for the Missouri House of Representatives has already made history. The candidates have surpassed the amount of money raised at this time during the 2006 race, which was the most expensive election in state history.

Democrat Chris Kelly has raised $90,945.58 thus far, while incumbent Republican Ed Robb has raised $54,215.65. At this time last election, Democrat Jim Ritter had raised $59,615.62 and Robb had raised $49,736.02. The funds raised in that race ended up totaling more than $300,000.

Kelly said he is doing better than he expected but still doesn’t know if he is doing well enough.

“The thing that makes me most pleased and most grateful is the number of contributors,” Kelly said.

Robb said his campaign was on schedule and had reached its goal for this time period.

Like the last election, Robb’s campaign plans to spend the most money during the last few weeks of the campaign because if voters are bombarded with ads throughout the campaign, “people get tired of hearing your name,” he said.

“The last two weeks is just unbelievable,” Robb said.

Thus far, Robb has spent about $9,219.50, leaving him with $44,347.81 on hand.

Kelly has spent $34,144.99 and has $56,455.59 on hand.

Robb said this campaign is so costly because of the many media outlets in Columbia: advertising is expensive, especially television and radio ads.

Kelly, who has been a judge and a member of the state House of Representatives, said he has never spent this much money in a campaign before. He said Robb declined his request to put a spending limit on the campaign, though Robb denies ever hearing about the request.

Robb pointed out that for any election, money is only a means to an end.

“The point of soliciting contributions is to be able to get your message to the voters,” Robb said.

Kelly’s supporters include several MU employees, which Kelly said was a result of the Republicans in the legislature’s treatment of education. Kelly added that the lawyers he works with are his biggest supporters. Eighty-two percent of his contributions came from Boone County, and 85 percent were from individuals, according to a news release from Kelly.

Robb’s contributors more often listed themselves as businesspeople and political action committees.

Both candidates said they have seen some return supporters from past campaigns.

“One would hope that you wouldn’t do anything so nefarious to lose their support,” Robb said.

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