JEFFERSON CITY — Republican Roy Blunt took in $2.2 million in recent months while enlarging his cash advantage over Democrat Robin Carnahan in Missouri's U.S. Senate race.
Campaign finance reports released Thursday show Carnahan raised more than $1.5 million during that same period of April through June. It was the strongest fundraising quarter for both candidates.
Blunt, a congressman from southwest Missouri, and Carnahan, the secretary of state, are their parties' leading contenders in the Aug. 3 Senate primaries. They are seeking to replace Republican Kit Bond, who is retiring after 24 years in the Senate.
Both Blunt and Carnahan spent about half the money they raised in the past quarter, according to summaries of their finance reports. Details about individual expenditures and contributions were not immediately available Thursday.
Blunt began July with $4.5 million in his campaign account compared with $3.6 million for Carnahan — an advantage of more than $900,000. But Carnahan's campaign said her figures do not include about $500,000 from a fundraiser last week with President Barack Obama.
Some of Blunt's cash advantage may be spent in the coming weeks. Blunt faces a wider field of lesser-known candidates than Carnahan in the primary elections. He began broadcasting television ads last week, shortly after rival Republican Senate candidate Chuck Purgason started running radio ads in some cities. Carnahan has not yet aired ads.
Purgason, a state senator from southern Missouri, has been trying to appeal to tea party activists and gained attention this week when he led a more than 20-hour filibuster against legislation offering tax breaks to Ford Motor Co. and other auto manufacturers.
But Purgason has not raised much money for his U.S. Senate bid. A campaign aide said Purgason raised $10,401 this past quarter and spent all of it, leaving just $148 in his campaign account as of the end of June. Purgason said Thursday that he had raised an additional $15,000 in July, but he added that he doesn't like to focus on fundraising.
Carnahan and Blunt each boasted of their widespread financial support. Blunt's campaign said it had more than 5,000 individual donors this past quarter and about 10,000 donors during the current election cycle. Carnahan's campaign said nearly 30,000 individual donors had contributed to her.