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Gov. Parson in St. Louis

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson talks with Derek Lauer, left, of Lauer Architecture, and Melvin White, right, president of Beloved Streets of America on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, following a brief tour near the 5900 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive at Hamilton Avenue in St. Louis. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

JEFFERSON CITY — Republican Gov. Mike Parson and a political action committee supporting him have a combined total of $5.7 million in the bank heading into the 2020 election, the Post-Dispatch has learned.

Parson, who likely will face off against Democratic state Auditor Nicole Galloway, raised $316,000 during the most recent fundraising quarter ending Sept. 30. Uniting Missouri, a PAC formed to back him, raised another $1.5 million during the same time period.

While contributions to Parson’s campaign committee are capped at $2,650, donations to the PAC are unlimited, allowing big dollar donors to write six figure checks.

For example, megadonor Rex Sinquefield, a retired St. Louis financier, has contributed a total of at least $1.25 million to Uniting Missouri.

“We’re in a strong position,” Parson campaign manager Steele Shippy told the Post-Dispatch. “We are excited about the momentum.”

Fundraising totals are closely watched because they indicate how much money a candidate can put into advertising and organizing in the search for votes.

The combined total of more than $1.8 million raised during the quarter appear to show Parson surpassing previous gubernatorial candidates for money raised in the year before an election.

Former Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned under a cloud of scandal and paved the way for Parson to take over in June 2018, had $1.4 million on hand during the same time period in 2015.

Democrat Chris Koster, who lost to Greitens in 2016, had $1.5 million in his campaign chest during the same time period.

Republican gubernatorial candidate John Brunner raised $3.6 million, but that amount included a $3 million loan he gave himself.

Shippy said 98% of the contributions to Parson’s committee are from Missouri donors. Uniting Missouri’s donors are 91% Missouri based.

“This is a campaign that’s funded by Missourians,” he said.

Parson is the front-runner for the GOP nomination next year. His lone opponent in the primary is Rep. Jim Neely of Cameron.

Galloway’s third quarter report, covering fundraising between July and Oct. 1, was not immediately available.

Through June 30, records show she had $132,900 in her bank account. A PAC raising money for her called “Keep Government Accountable,” collected an estimated $350,000 in large contributions during the same time period.

“We are very excited by the incredibly strong early support received by the campaign so far,” said Galloway spokesman Eric Slusher.

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