ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX)--Don’t let their smiles fool you — Ann Wagner and Ed Martin are working to out-fundraise, out-organize and out-maneuver each other as they fight for position in the Republican primary for Todd Akin’s 2nd District Congressional seat.
Though cordial when photographed together at the Akin for Senate campaign news conference this spring, since then like rival armies preparing for battle Wagner and Martin have been toiling through the hot summer days fundraising. On Friday, campaign finance reports are due for the quarter that ended June 30.
The Wagner campaign boasts it has raised more than $523,000 in the first nine weeks of her candidacy — a record for a first-time candidate for Congress in Missouri.
Martin, meanwhile, tells KMOX he is “still adding up” his fundraising totals ahead of Friday’s deadline, with “500 to 600” individual donations to tabulate. Martin concedes that Wagner has fundraising horsepower, but he says his polling data shows Wagner would have to raise $1 million just to match Martin’s established name recognition.
The race is expected to cost the eventual Republican candidate “close to $2 million” to get through the primary and general election, according to UMSL Political Science Professor Dave Robertson.
“It’s quite possible that Ann Wagner’s campaign will be able to out raise Ed Martin,” Robertson said, “But Ed Martin has to be counting on the mobilization of his conservative supporters.”
Martin lost a close race last November against Democratic Congressman Russ Carnahan in the 3rd Congressional District.
Since then, redistricting mandated by changes in the U-S Census numbers will leave Carnahan without a district.
To stay in Congress, Carnahan has to make a foray into some other district. Robertson believes Carnahan would have “very little chance” taking on fellow Democratic Congressman William Lacy Clay in the 1st Congressional District. And if Carnahan decides to run in the Republican-leaning 2nd District, Robertson says it will be an uphill struggle.
“The second district looks like the one that will be the most congenial to Carnahan,” Robertson said, “But it’s not at all a district that’s going to be advantageous for any Democrat. It’s still going to be a Republican District.”
While not yet stating his intentions, Carnahan has been actively fundraising. He reported gathering $333,000 in the previous quarter.
Mystery continues to swirl around Russ’ sister, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. After losing her Senate race last November against Republican Roy Blunt, she has reported $220,000 in the bank, but hasn’t been making the rounds raising fresh cash.
“Why isn’t the Robin Carnahan campaign for Secretary of State not seemingly in full gear or trying to raise money?” Robertson said.
Robertson wonders if Robin Carnahan may be weighing her options about whether to run again, or seek some other office.