Candidates in the Kansas City region are raising record amounts of money ahead of the 2018 election when races in both Kansas and Missouri will play a key role in determining control of Congress.
U.S. Sen. McCaskill of Missouri raised more than $3 million to defend her Senate seat in the past three months, a record amount that mostly came in small contributions of less than $100, the Democrat's campaign announced on Monday.
Meanwhile in Kansas, U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder raised $470,000 in three months and has $1.1 million of cash on hand, a record for Kansas congressional races this far out from an election, according to the Overland Park Republican’s campaign.
McCaskill is running for re-election in a state Trump won by 19 points and is widely considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats in next year's midterm elections.
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She has been getting fundraising help in recent months from fellow Democratic senators, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kamala Harris of California, both of whom sent fundraising emails on her behalf.
The emails came on the heels of a video that went viral of McCaskill confronting Senate Republicans about "a group of guys in a back room somewhere" shaping the GOP's bill to replace Obamacare without Democratic input.
The $3.1 million in donations McCaskill raked in during the second quarter of this year is the most money ever raised in a non-election year by any Missouri senator or Senate candidate.
Ninety percent of the contributions totaled less than $100, and the average donation was just $57, according to paperwork McCaskill's campaign plans to file on Tuesday.
“The groundwork for this campaign is being built by a small army of Missourians who'd never contributed to Claire before now,” Erika Brees, McCaskill’s campaign finance director. “It shows that Missourians recognize how important it is to have a Senator like Claire, who shows up and listens to folks in every corner of our state, and who cuts through the gridlock and gets results for Missouri families.”
McCaskill now has $5.1 million cash on hand for her re-election campaign.
Republicans have not yet coalesced around a candidate.
U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, a Republican from the St. Louis area, announced earlier this month that she would not try to unseat McCaskill, despite widespread expectation that she planned to join the race.
Former Libertarian presidential hopeful Austin Petersen announced his plans to seek the Republican nomination at a July 4 event in Peculiar, Mo. Tony Monetti, a retired Air Force pilot and assistant dean of aviation at the University of Central Missouri, has also announced his plans to seek the seat.
Some Republicans in Missouri have called for the state's Attorney General Josh Hawley to mount a run against McCaskill. Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler also hasn't ruled out a campaign. They have yet to announce decisions.
Yoder’s seat in the 3rd congressional in Kansas is considered a top target for national Democrats looking to recapture control of the U.S. House after Democrat Hillary Clinton won the district, which covers the Kansas City suburbs, by a small margin in the presidential race.
Yoder’s campaign pointed to Democrats’ targeting of Yoder as a reason for the strong fundraising numbers.
“The outpouring of financial support by Kansans across the Third District is a direct response to Washington Democrats targeting Kevin Yoder,” said Jennifer Dreiling, Yoder’s campaign finance director, in a news release. “The constituents of the Third District elected Kevin Yoder to represent them in Congress and that is what he is working every day to do, despite constant attempts by the far left to obstruct and disrupt.”
Leawood Democrat Andrea Ramsey, one of several candidates vying for the chance to take on Yoder in the general election, announced Friday that she raised more than $200,000 in a span of 17 days.
“The voters of our community are ready for a representative who listens to their concerns and isn’t afraid to step up and take on tough challenges,” said Ramsey, former board chair and president for Turner House Children’s Clinic in Kansas City, Kan. “This early support proves that our movement is more than just formidable. I’m confident we will win.”
Lindsay Wise: 202-383-6007, @lindsaywise