Hulshof drains campaign account in primaries, lags behind Nixon financially

Friday, September 5, 2008 | 12:57 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY - Although his cash advantage has narrowed, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Nixon is entering the general election campaign with more than twice as much money as Republican Kenny Hulshof.

Campaign finance reports filed Thursday with the Missouri Ethics Commission show Nixon, the state attorney general, began September with nearly $2.4 million on hand. Hulshof, Missouri's 9th District congressman, reported a little more than $1 million in his campaign account.

Hulshof spent most of his money defeating Treasurer Sarah Steelman in the Aug. 5 Republican gubernatorial primary. He has rebuilt his campaign account thanks to several six-figure checks received since Missouri's cap on contributions was lifted last week.

The latest finance reports cover a period from July 25 through Aug. 30.

Effective Aug. 28, a new Missouri law repealed the state's individual contribution limits of $1,350 per election to statewide candidates, $675 to Senate candidates and $325 to House candidates.

The result is that most Missouri politicians now can accept unlimited amounts of money for the Nov. 4 general election. Candidates for federal offices still must abide by federal contribution limits.

As of the previous campaign finance reporting period, Nixon had nearly $2.9 million on hand. Although he faced no serious primary opposition and raised nearly $1.4 million more in the past month or so, Nixon's total money on hand has declined as he began running TV ads for the general election campaign.

Hulshof, meanwhile, had $426,772 on hand as of the last reporting period, but he said he spent nearly every dollar he raised to win the hard-fought Republican primary. Hulshof, also, has continued to run TV ads while rebuilding his campaign account.

The primary elections left several losing candidates in debt.

Most notably, Steelman reported $770,000 in outstanding loans to herself, with just $17,285 left in her campaign account. Candidates can continue to raise money to pay off debt after they lose an election, but Steelman showed little fundraising activity after the primary.

Democratic attorney general candidate Margaret Donnelly, who requested a re-count after her close primary loss to Chris Koster, reported a debt of $364,569 with just $21,479 on hand at the end of August.

Koster reported $226,109 on hand with $200,000 of debt. Republican attorney general candidate Mike Gibbons, who had no primary challengers, reported $564,455 on hand.

Several candidates who finished behind Clint Zweifel in the Democratic treasurer's primary also reported debts larger than their available cash. Second-place finisher Mark Powell reported a debt of $18,250 with less than $27 on hand; Andria Danine Simckes reported a debt of $33,774 with $1,578 in her account; and Charles Wheeler reported a debt of $5,970 with less than $388 on hand.

As the victor, Zweifel was able to repay his debt. However, Zweifel's reported $12,832 remaining for the general election puts him at a sizable financial disadvantage to the Republican nominee for treasurer, Brad Lager, who reported $522,491 on hand for the general election.

Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder holds the money lead in his re-election bid, reporting $926,047 on hand compared to $644,449 for Democratic challenger Sam Page.


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