With four months to go until the primary election for Columbia’s state Senate seat, running for the office is already looking pretty expensive.
Thursday was the deadline for filing campaign finance forms, and fund-raising leaders Rep. Chuck Graham and former Rep. Tim Harlan, both Democrats, led the way. Combined, they raised close to $60,000 in the last three months.
Republican Kat Cunningham followed them with $17,600, while Andrew Spain filed for exemption. The report for A. Sage was unavailable Tuesday.
Harlan had the overall edge as of March 31 — he had raised about $33,000 more than Graham over the course of the campaign — but Graham out-raised him this past quarter.
Both Democratic candidates said they were pleased with their efforts thus far in the race for the seat being vacated by Sen. Ken Jacob, who is leaving the Missouri Senate because of term limits. Jacob is running for lieutenant governor.
“We are right on target,” said Harlan, who raised $21,400 this quarter. “We’ve been at this for a year — you have to pace yourself.”
Graham raised $38,200 this quarter and said he is not worried at all about how the overall disparity will affect his campaign.
Rather, he said, the most recent figures reflect the momentum he is picking up after having started six months later than Harlan.
More important than the money, Harlan said, is the number of contributors within the 19th District supporting his cause.
“It shows a breadth of local support, and that is important when it comes to the actual election,” he said.
Mayor Darwin Hindman appears as a recognizable name on Harlan’s donor list. He also drew contributions from many MU employees.
Graham’s supporters included deans from five MU schools and colleges and MU Chancellor Richard Wallace.
Graham said Missouri labor unions are another primary contributor to his growing campaign funds.
This election, Graham said, involves a more active approach to fund raising.
“I’ve spent more time on the phone,” he said. “In the past it’s been mailing and events.”
Harlan said his tactics remain unchanged and that a majority of the money will purchase television and radio time, as well direct mail pieces that will be sent to his constituents.
“Local contributions are the most important,” Harlan said.