Campaign Money From Far and Wide
But even before the Michael J. Fox ad, the Senate race in Missouri had one of the highest percentages of out-of-state money in the entire country. The reason for out-of-state money is simple - the race is close.
"Missouri is seen as a race where either party could win, and so they're going to put money into any close race around," MU political science professor John Petrocik said.
The Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Ken Mehlman, echoed those thoughts during a recent campaign stop for Jim Talent.
"I think at the end of the day it is a very close race, very competitive race, and because of the fact that people are paying attention to that you'll have support from around the country from people who agree with the different candidates," Mehlman said.
Talent raised nearly $8 million from individual donors. Out-of-state donations accounted for more than one-third of that money. McCaskill received an even higher percentage from out-of-state. Fifty percent of her money from individual donors came from outside of Missouri.
"A lot of the out-of-state money that has come into my campaign, frankly, has been the kind that gets me excited because it has been 20, 30, 40 dollar checks from all over the country," McCaskill said.
All over the country is no exaggeration. People from every state in the Union, Washington D.C., the Virgin Islands, even people in London all donated money to the Missouri Senate race. California invested the most in Missouri. Californians gave more than half a million dollars to Talent, and almost $200,000 to McCaskill. New Yorkers also donated big bucks to the Show-Me state. More than $467,000 for McCaskill and almost $250,000 for Talent.
Out-of-state corporations also give big money for access to politicians. And the corporations donated almost entirely to Talent for one reason: He is the incumbent.
For the big corporate donors like AT&T, UPS, or Wal-Mart, it doesn't matter if the candidate is a Democrat or a Republican. After examining the donation lists, all three donated to several Missouri campaigns. Democrat or Republican, the contributions were always to the person already in power, the incumbent.
Petrocik said the same will be true, even with a McCaskill victory.
"And if she becomes the incumbent, she's going to be the recipient of the same kinds of funds that come for the same kinds of reasons that Jim Talent is receiving them, and anything to the contrary is simply not true," he explained.
The truth is out-of-state people with no ties to Missouri, other than their campaign contribution, people who may not have even visited Missouri, will try to influence who will represent Missourians in Washington D.C.