- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Among the crowded field of Missouri Republicans aiming to become governor, former Navy SEAL officer Eric Greitens is the only one getting most of his funding from outside the state.

Greitens, of St. Louis, has raised roughly $1.27 million since launching an exploratory committee for governor in February, bringing in more so far this year than any other GOP candidate. About 58 percent of his itemized contributions, or close to $730,000, has come from individuals, political action committees and other groups located in other states, according to an Associated Press analysis of campaign contribution reports of itemized donations filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

No other candidate came close to bringing in as much from outside Missouri.

Greitens said he has seen a “tremendous” grassroots following, but also that the out-of-state donations reflect the national support he has received from his work outside politics. He cited his efforts building a nonprofit group that helps military veterans returning from duty, his work as a Navy SEAL and his time as a White House fellow for President George W. Bush.

“They’re making an investment in leadership,” said Greitens, who is expected to officially announce plans to run later.

But his out-of-state financing also could open him up to criticism and questions about his connection to Missouri, retired St. Louis University political science professor Steven Puro said. He said it’s a “very high probability” Greitens will face pushback on the issue.

Former Missouri House Speaker and U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway already has made a point to distinguish that most of her money came from in-state donors, with only about 6.5 percent of her roughly $350,000 in itemized contributions this year coming from other states.

In a statement released when she announced the results of her most recent fundraising, Hanaway said she was “humbled to have earned the support of the many Missourians who have invested in my campaign.”

Attorney General Chris Koster, the only Democrat with plans to run for the governor’s office in 2016, took in the second most from out-of-state donors after Greitens, with a little more than 19 percent - or nearly $389,000 - of his more than $2 million in itemized contributions this year coming from outside Missouri.

But Greitens also still beat his Republican competitors in terms of in-state fundraising so far this year. Nearly $538,000 came from Missouri donors, which is more than any other GOP candidate or expected candidate in that same time period.

Puro said that in-state base may mean attacks about his out-of-state fundraising might not have any “continued substance” to them.

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Follow Summer Ballentine at https://twitter.com/esballentine


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