Jay Nixon holds cash lead over Dave Spence for Missouri governor

Thursday, September 6, 2012 | 8:49 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon began the general election campaign with a sizable cash advantage over his challenger, but Republican businessman Dave Spence vowed Thursday that he will have enough resources to go "toe to toe" with the Democratic governor.

Finance reports released Thursday show Nixon's campaign had $6.3 million at the start of September. Spence, who won a Republican primary in August, began the new month with $1.4 million left in his campaign account.

But Spence's personal wealth may diminish the significance of that disparity. Spence already has loaned or given his campaign a total of $4 million, including $1.25 million during the most recent reporting period from July 27 to Sept. 1. He declined to say how much more money he is willing to put into the race.

"We're going to be toe to toe with him," Spence said. "We will do whatever it takes to stay competitive. We're not going to lose for lack of funding."

Nixon has not loaned or given his campaign any money.

Finance reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission show Nixon raised about $1 million during the roughly one-month reporting period. He spent nearly $1.8 million during that time, of which almost $1.4 million went to The Campaign Group in Philadelphia, which handles his advertising.

Spence's finance report shows he received around $313,000 in cash and in-kind contributions during the period besides his personal loans. He spent about $336,000.

Both candidates also are expected to get help from national political groups. The Democratic Governors Association gave $2.5 million to its Missouri affiliate earlier this year. The Republican Governors Association gave $1.75 million this summer to its Missouri affiliate. The groups either could pass that money onto the candidates' campaign committees or spend it independently to benefit or oppose the gubernatorial candidates.

Missouri's next campaign finance reporting deadline is Oct. 15. Those reports will cover money raised and spent through the end of September.

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