Summer has just begun and incumbent Senator Jim Talent has already starting raising a lot of cash for next year’s U.S. Senate race. And, he’s getting a lot of help from Republican Party leadership. President Bush headlined a fundraiser for Talent earlier this month in St. Louis, adding about $1.5-Million to the re-election effort. That brings the total raised to an estimated $3.3-Million – the most money ever raised by a Senate candidate from Missouri this early in the race. Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman says the Party views Talent as an important candidate in an important state. He adds Republicans were outspent by Democrats in 2004, so they can’t waste any time looking for contributions. The Democrats have yet to come up with a candidate in Missouri, though State Auditor Claire McCaskill has been mentioined as a possible challenger. This, despite the fact she has not indicated any interest in running. The Missourinet has offered Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean the chance to weigh in on the Missouri contest, but he has so far not been made available.)