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Money Flows Into Missouri’s 6th

Former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes (D) will begin making the rounds in Washington, D.C., next week, attempting to capitalize on her second-quarter fundraising torrent and chum Democratic waters for what likely will become an ugly — and expensive — challenge to Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) next year.

A source confirmed Wednesday that the popular two-term mayor is scheduled to meet July 30-31 with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a number of labor unions and other big Democratic donors. The source declined to name the groups, but the campaign said its phones have been ringing off the hook since the second-quarter fundraising results were released last week.

“The reaction has been overwhelming,” Barnes campaign spokesman Steve Glorioso said. “We have great [fundraising] potential in Washington.”

Barnes’ arrival Monday will come on the heels of a six-week, nearly $8,000-per-day fundraising whirlwind, which brought in nearly $330,000 since she announced her candidacy in mid-May. The former mayor outraised Graves by $80,000, or one-third more than the four-term incumbent’s roughly $248,000 gross take.

A Roll Call analysis of campaign finance records suggests that both candidates are playing it by the books, hitting up reliable local donors and special interests, while ensuring not to cry wolf too soon. Both campaigns agreed it was much too soon in the cycle to draw conclusions. Still, Graves, who has not faced a close contest in three cycles, appears to be applying war paint, hiring fundraiser Michael Gula and getting an early start passing the hat up and down K Street.

According to a recent e-mail provided to Roll Call, Gula has been soliciting donations from lobbyists in recent weeks and confirmed that he has been brought on board by the campaign.

“Congressman Graves will have a top tier Republican race this cycle … the Democrats are focusing on this district and your help is needed,” Gula wrote in a recent e-mail. “As you know, we are happy to set up 1-1 meetings so he is able to grow and build upon his relationship with you.

“We have a lot of times available in July and September if you would like to sit down with him to discuss issues of importance,” Gula continued. “Please find below a list of general events coming up … all events are a suggested contribution of $1,000 per PAC or $500 per individual.”

The fundraiser’s recent plea may build upon Graves’ apparent popularity in downtown D.C. Graves, who sits on the Agriculture, Small Business and Transportation and Infrastructure panels, has had significant success in recent months raising money from corporate political action committees and trade associations, taking in nearly $150,000 — or about 60 percent of his fundraising total — from outside groups during the second quarter.

Missouri Republican Party spokesman Paul Sloca said there is little chance the local GOP party faithful will grow anemic in the face of the widespread attention and outside money the race will attract. In fact, he said, they should be even more energized, especially during a presidential election year. Also, Sloca said the Republican incumbent’s second-quarter fundraising is just the tip of the iceberg.

“Missourians in general take pride in their bellwether reputation,” Sloca said. “From the Republican standpoint, it’s going to fire people up.”

“Between business and agriculture, those are pretty strong groups [for Graves],” Sloca added. And “he’s always done a good job of getting individual contributors — and a lot of them.”

But Democrats disagree, claiming his reliance on PAC gifts is a sign that Graves’ support in the district is waning.

“He ended up having to go to his new friends in Washington,” Glorioso said.

In contrast, Barnes’ campaign points to the more than $200,000, or roughly 60 percent of her fundraising total, the former mayor brought in from 6th district constituents and others in the Kansas City area. In addition to tapping the business community, Glorioso said he and other Democrats have supported five-term suburban Kansas City, Kan., Rep. Dennis Moore (D) for years.

And what goes around, Barnes supporters claim, comes around.

“A lot of us are certainly calling our Johnson County [Kan.] friends,” he said.