If fundraising is the backbone of a political campaign, two candidates are emerging as leading contenders in the Republican primary to fill an open state Senate seat.
The 34th Senate District encompasses both Buchanan and Platte counties and is being vacated by Sen. Rob Schaaf, a Republican from St. Joseph, due to term limits.
In a showdown between counties, Buchanan County Presiding Commissioner Harry Roberts and Platte County resident Tony Luetkemeyer have amassed six-figure amounts ahead of the August primary.
As a first-time candidate for elected office, Luetkemeyer is proving to be an effective fundraiser. The attorney from Platte County has close to $300,000 in his campaign war chest after raising more than $100,000 last quarter.
From October through December, Luetkemeyer brought in $101,900, which is the second highest amount raised by any Senate candidate in Missouri. Only Bill White, a state representative running for the 32-district seat in Joplin, raised more: $116,910 last quarter, according to campaign finance reports from the Missouri Ethics Commission.
Harry Roberts brought in less than Luetkemeyer but now has a little over $100,000 in cash-on-hand.
Roberts raised a total of $44,050 last quarter and his campaign coffers grew to $102,919, a total cash-on-hand amount that amounts to only $1,000 more than Luetkemeyer’s fundraising totals from last quarter alone.
While suffering a $50,000 fundraising gap, Roberts was still able to raise more money from in-district donors than Luetkemeyer.
A News-Press Now review of campaign finance disclosures shows $30,800 of Roberts’ $44,050 raised last quarter came from contributors with addresses within the 34th Senate District. Luetkemeyer raised a hefty $101,900 last quarter, but only $14,415 came from in-district donations.
Since officially beginning their campaigns last year, Luetkemeyer raised a total of $75,218 from 51 PACs while Roberts brought in a mere total of $7,350 from six political action committees.
Luetkemeyer, whose wife is the general counsel to Gov. Eric Greitens, has also brought in a significantly larger amount of donations from political action committees compared to Roberts.
The only announced Democrat in the race is Martin Rucker II, a St. Joseph native who currently resides in Platte County. The former Mizzou football star has $17,355 cash-on-hand after raising $19,815 and spending $2,000 last quarter.