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McCaskill raises $3M for tough re-election campaign in 2018

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill far outpaced Republican rivals in fundraising with nearly $3 million raised in the three months to the end of September for what's likely to be an expensive and gritty fight for her Missouri seat, her campaign announced Thursday.

McCaskill's campaign said she raised more than $2.9 million between July and the end of September, spent close to $1 million and had more than $7 million in cash to spend. For comparison, the leading Republican candidate, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, raised less than $1 million, although he only recently launched his campaign.

"Missourians know that Claire fights for them -- and they've demonstrated time and again that they support sending her back to the U.S. Senate to continue to break through gridlock and get things done," McCaskill's Finance Director Erika Brees said in a statement.

McCaskill is among 10 Senate Democrats running in states won by Trump, and the Missouri race could be crucial in control of the Senate, where the GOP currently has a narrow majority of 52 seats.

McCaskill's financial advantage over Hawley, at least so far, is not surprising. McCaskill has had years to accumulate money for a third bid for office, although campaign finance records show she's ramped up fundraising this year.

Hawley, who has never before run for federal office, started fundraising from scratch after launching a committee in early August — partway through the fundraising quarter. But he didn't formally announce his candidacy until Tuesday. His campaign said he's raised about $820,000, spent $38,000 and has $782,000 in cash.

"I'm humbled to have the support of conservatives throughout Missouri who are ready to change Washington," Hawley said in a statement. "We've been actively raising money for just over a month and these fundraising numbers indicate that we'll have the resources to run a winning campaign and take on Washington."

As the race heats up, the Republican and Democratic candidates likely will receive an outpouring of financial help from those who see the Missouri Senate seat as one of the most competitive in 2018.

Other contenders for the Republican nomination include Austin Petersen, a former Libertarian presidential candidate who raised roughly $214,000, spent more than $175,000 and had about $38,400 in cash on hand by the end of the same time period.

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This version of the story corrects the first paragraph to say that McCaskill raised nearly $3 million but not more than $3 million.

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