The Buzz

Mike Sanders leaves office with a big F-A-T campaign account

Sanders (with his wife)
Sanders (with his wife)

Mike Sanders is set to leave office as Jackson County executive on Thursday.

He’ll do so with more than $500,000 in his campaign account, which means Sanders can remain a political force for years to come.

His latest campaign report shows that he had $529,725 in the bank with an array of options for how he can spend that money.

According to the Missouri Ethics Commission, he could (a) donate it to charity (b) donate it to other political candidates (c) refund the money to donors or (d) hang onto it to seed a future political campaign.

Sanders, for instance, has flirted with a statewide campaign in Missouri for years, and at various times has been linked to races for attorney general, lieutenant governor or secretary of state.

A fifth option is some combination of the first four.

One thing he cannot do is transfer the money to a federal race for Congress. Democrats have long said that Sanders is interested in running for the 5th District congressional seat once incumbent Emanuel Cleaver retires.

Sanders was unavailable for comment Wednesday about what he plans to do with all that moola.

He’s been spending a little of it. A couple of weeks ago, he donated $10,000 to Jackson County Legislator Greg Grounds. Earlier this year, he weighed in on races for the Kansas City Council, giving Lee Barnes $750 on May 8 and Teresa Loar $2,500 the next day. Both won their races.

Sanders may be loaded, but he doesn’t have as much as another former eastern Jackson County officeholder. Victor Callahan, the former Democratic state senator and chairman of the Jackson County Legislature, reported more than $540,000 in his campaign account in July. Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Callahan to the State Tax Commission on the final day of 2012.

Based on that $540,000 figure alone, Callahan, like Sanders, remains a political force. Both men will be mentioned as possible candidates for political races for years to come.

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