Nixon raises more in Columbia, but Blunt outpaces challenger statewide

Thursday, October 18, 2007 | 7:26 p.m. CDT; updated 6:36 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

COLUMBIA — Attorney General Jay Nixon, the likely Democratic candidate for governor, has raised more than twice as much from Columbians in the past year as his opponent, Republican Gov. Matt Blunt.

Since October 2006, Nixon raised $52,509 from 211 Columbia residents compared to Blunt’s $24,800 from 21 contributors.

For the entire state, it is reversed.

Blunt has raised nearly $5.8 million from 1,732 contributions statewide in the last 12 months while Nixon has received $2.9 million from 6,609 donations.

The latest campaign finance report from the Missouri Ethics Commission was released Monday.

Blunt, 36, was elected to his current office in 2004, when he became the youngest governor in the country.

Nixon, 51, has served four terms as attorney general.

Phyllis Fugit, chairwoman of Boone County Democratic Central Committee, said Nixon gets the edge in Columbia because of Blunt’s budget cuts to MU, Medicaid and children’s services.

However, John Hancock, spokesman for Blunt’s campaign, said “Nixon has a bunch of wealthy trial lawyers bundling money for him in Columbia.”

Hancock also pointed out that “Blunt hasn’t had any big fund-raising events in Columbia yet.”

The three largest Columbia contributions for Blunt are tied to Atkins Investments, each giving $5,000 in June.

The biggest contributor to the Nixon campaign was Dudley Trice of The Insurance Group Inc., who made a $2,500 donation in March.

Among the 21 donations to Blunt, 11 were less than $500 and eight were $1,000 or more. Of the 264 total donations Nixon received, 238 were less than $500 and the rest were all $1,000 or more.

But The two candidates might lose some of their funds. On July 19, the Missouri Supreme Court reinstated a $1,275 individual contribution limit that was eliminated Jan. 1. The Ethics Commission hasn’t decided whether candidates must return any over-limit contributions received between Jan. 1 and July 19. The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 8.

If the Ethics Commission does make the limit retroactive, Blunt would have to give $12,175 back to Columbia contributors; Nixon would have to return $1,225.

“We’ll need to wait and see,” Hancock said. “We raised it legally and are grateful to have it.”

Statewide, the candidates could have to return millions.

To download a Microsoft Excel document showing all of the contributions to both candidates, click here.

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