Jessica Machetta contributed to this story
The Missouri Governor’s race has record-breaking, high-dollar donations to both campaigns. Democrat Chris Koster and Republican Eric Greitens’ war chests boast million-dollar donations and more, making this the most expensive governor’s race on state record. Missouri voters approved campaign finance limits more than 20 years ago, but the GOP-led legislature overturned that law in 2008. Governor Jay Nixon (D), who is serving his last year as governor, says voters can decide in November’s general election if campaign donation limits should be restored in Missouri.
“The last time this was on the ballot, Missourians supported campaign limits by 70%. Now, there will still be money in politics, but the bottom is I think this provides Missourians a direct opportunity in three-and-a-half weeks to say let’s change it here in Missouri,” says Nixon.
Nixon wants to end what he calls special interests bank-rolling certain candidates.
“Let’s put limits back on what candidate committees can get,” says Nixon. “That’s the case I argued at the U.S. Supreme Court that I won that said the constitutional limit was given to candidate committees and I would hope the people of the state of Missouri would look at that ballot proposal carefully and cast a vote for limiting dollars to go directly to candidate committees.”
The ballot measure, called Amendment Two, will ask Missouri voters on November 8 whether they want to restrict contributions to individual candidates to $2,600 and limit donations to a political party to $25,000. The caps would begin next year.
Opponents of the measure say there’s more transparency without campaign finance laws.
The Republican Governors Association has poured $5.5 million into Greitens’ campaign, but his biggest single donation comes in at nearly $2 million from SEALS for Truth.
Koster supports campaign finance restrictions. His largest donations are $1 million from the Democratic Governors Association, and $1 million from the State County & Municipal Employees Union.
Missouri tops all other states in spending this election year for political advertising of races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. The Center for Public Integrity says more than $27 million has been spent on TV ads for the Missouri governor’s race, nearly $12 million for the attorney general’s contest and $2.3 million for the lieutenant governor’s race.