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Political hopefuls already raising money for next year's elections


Though filing doesn't begin until Feb. 24, area political hopefuls already are raising money with an eye on the 2004 primary and general elections, according to quarterly campaign finance reports recently filed with the county and state.

Locally, Tesson Ferry Township Democratic Committeewoman Julie Leicht has formed a campaign committee to seek the 6th District County Council Seat district seat but had raised no money by the end of September.

Incumbent County Councilman John Campisi, R-south county, has a current war chest of $14,165.36.

State Rep. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, has raised more than $7,500 and has almost $5,500 on hand at the end of the third quarter.

His expected Democratic opponent, former County Councilman Jeff Wagener, also has been out seeking funds and shows a current bankroll of $3,753.

State Rep. Jim Avery, R-Crestwood, has almost $3,000 on hand, but has incurred an indebtedness of $1,300. State Rep. Sue Schoemehl, D-Oakville, also is carrying a debt of $1,250, with a bank account of slightly more than $900.

State Rep. Walt Bivins, R-Oakville, has $5,225 on hand with an outstanding indebtedness of $4,418.

William Kloeppel ran in 2002 as a write-in candidate in the 97th District and is expected to do so in 2004. He has formed a campaign committee as an independent but has raised no money.

Rep. Patricia Yaeger, D-Lemay, raised $2,200, repaid a $1,000 loan and has expended $770.

Rep. Michael Vogt, D-Affton, has not begun his fund-raising efforts in earnest, showing less than $200 on hand.

Area politicians may figure prominently in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-south county, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidency.

Former Democratic state Rep. Joan Bar-ry of Oakville currently has $40,699 on hand for a congressional race.

Republican Bill Federer of Oakville, who unsuccessfully challenged Gephardt in 1998 and 2000, has raised $272,769 with $75,403 on hand to run for a third time.

A number of Democrats from outside of south county have expressed an interest in seeking Gephardt's job. Rep. Russ Carn-ahan, D-St. Louis, son of former Gov. Mel Carnahan, has $144,000 in the bank. A third candidate, state Sen. Steve Stoll of Jefferson County, has more than $115,000 in the bank.

In statewide races, Gov. Bob Holden likely will find himself in a primary battle with State Auditor Claire McCaskill, who is expected to announce this week her intention to seek the Democratic nomination for governor.

McCaskill has a war chest of $1.3 million. In contrast, the governor had $2.3 million on hand as of Sept. 30. The expected Republican standard-bearer, Secretary of State Matt Blunt, reported having $1.2 million on hand as of the end of the current reporting period.

The unexpected announcement by Lt. Gov. Joe Maxwell that he will not seek re-election has opened the door for former Secretary of State Bekki Cook, a Democrat from Cape Girardeau. She reports having $104,350 on hand for a primary challenge from Sen. Ken Jacobs of Columbia, who has raised $47,153.

Two Republicans plan to seek the job of lieutenant governor, state Senate Pro Tem Peter Kinder of Cape Girardeau and former state Rep. Pat Secrest of Manchester.

Kinder's latest financial disclosure report shows he has been out-raising Se-crest. He has a bankroll of more than $100,000, compared to Secrest's $10,779.

State Sen. Anita Yeckel, R-Sunset Hills, who cannot seek election to a third four- year term next year because of term limits, has announced that she will file for the position of state treasurer. The recent financial report filed by her campaign committee shows that she raised $47,645 and has $33,052 on hand.

Two current House members and a businessman appear, at this time, to be her challengers in the August primary. Rep. Brad Roark, R-Springfield, has roughly $21,000 on hand. However, Rep. Blain Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, is sitting with a war chest of $100,225. Newcomer businessman Tom Klein has amassed a campaign fund of $160,956. However, much of this is borrowed money. He showed outstanding indebtedness of $157,727 at the end of September.

The winner of the Republican primary for treasurer in August will not face an incumbent because current Treasurer Nancy Farmer, a Democrat, has announced her intention to seek the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Christopher "Kit" Bond.

That will be a formidable task given the fact that Bond has $4 million on hand. This contrasts with about $400,000 raised by the Farmer campaign.

An expected Democratic candidate for Treasurer is Rep. Mark Abel from Jeffer-son County. He reported raising less than $30,000 to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Bob Yeckel is campaigning to succeed his wife as senator in the 1st Senate District. He has $10,000 in his war chest.

State Sen. Harry Kennedy, D-St. Louis, who has been redistricted into the 1st Sen-ate District, is expected to seek the Democratic nomination. He has a campaign bankroll of more than $42,000.

With Blunt looking to run for governor, the position of secretary of state is drawing interest. Robin Carnahan, daughter of former Gov. Mel Carnahan, has announced her intentions to seek this post. The latest financial report shows that she has more than $186,000 on hand. Sen. Sarah Steel-man, R-Rolla, who has expressed an interest in the secretary of state race, has about $208,000 on hand.

However, with House Speaker Catherine Hanaway, R-Warson Woods, also indicating that she will run for Secretary of State, there is speculation that Steelman may enter the crowded treasurer's race.

Hanaway has raised $417, 513 and has $289,985 in her campaign fund.

Things may change when filing opens in late February, but for now those who are raising the most money appear to have a chance of winning primary nominations next April.

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