JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri — Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster maintains a fundraising lead in the race for Missouri governor, though some Republicans are cutting into his cash advantage as the candidates accelerated their spending, reports filed Friday with the Missouri Ethics Commission show.
Koster, the only Democrat who has announced plans to run, raised $1.3 million from October through December, and had nearly $5.8 million in his campaign account to start 2016.
Republican Eric Greitens raised $1.5 million during the final quarter of 2015, bringing former Navy SEAL officer's campaign account up to $3.4 million.
St. Louis businessman John Brunner started the year with $3.6 million on hand after pouring a similar amount of his own money into his campaign.
Other Republican candidates were further behind financially.
Former House Speaker Catherine Hanaway spent slightly more than the $138,000 she raised this past quarter. She also raised about $28,500 less than she did during the previous period, though she still begins 2016 with $1.5 million in the bank.
That's more than triple the $445,000 in Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder's campaign account, who brought in $300,000 during the quarter.
"I've faced tough races before — I've been outraised and outspent," he wrote in an email announcing his totals. "I've never been outworked."
All the candidates increased their spending over the previous quarter.
Koster continues to spend the most, almost $581,000. That's about $132,000 more than what he spent from July through September, the largest increase of the field.
Greitens paid out $357,000 last quarter, increasing his expenses by almost $95,000. Brunner's expenses were slightly lower at about $339,000, an increase over last quarter of about $40,000.
Kinder increased his spending by six-fold, though his total expenses were still the lowest in the race at $131,000.
Hanaway's spending increase of about $19,000 was the smallest in the field, bringing her quarterly expenses to just under $147,000.
Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon is barred from seeking re-election because of term limits.
The Republican primary is in August. The general election is in November.
Associated Press writer David A. Lieb contributed to this report.