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Bost one of 20 Republicans targeted by national campaign-finance reform group

St. Louis Post Dispatch

Wednesday, December 6, 2017  |  Article  |  By Chuck Raasch St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Candidates--Federal (13)
WASHINGTON • In another indication the St. Louis region will be central to which party controls Congress in 2019, the political action committee End Citizens United has put Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, on its list of 20 Republican House and Senate members it will try to defeat in next year’s elections.

The group said Tuesday it will raise about $35 million to run ads against those members, but would not say how it will allocate it. The group wants to peel back the 2010 Supreme Court decision on behalf of the conservative group Citizens United that opened up large spigots of largely unrestricted “dark money” spending in political races.

The group says Bost, a second-term congressman, is beholden to special interests that helped get him elected under that system, and that he is resistant to limiting money in the political system - limits that are widely supported, according to polls.

“Interesting that a Washington-based political group claiming there is too much money in politics is raising tens of millions of dollars to defeat candidates based on partisan affiliation, not their record,” Bost spokesman George O’Connor said. “Rep. Bost is proud to stand on his record and we are confident he will continue to receive broad support, as he has from nearly 400 small-dollar contributors in southern Illinois this year.”

Bost is likely to face St. Clair County Attorney Brendan Kelly, who has been endorsed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, next November.

In 2016, Bost defeated another Democratic attorney, C.J. Baricevic, who was heavily dependent upon donations from attorneys to fund his campaign.

Kelly has raised from a broader donor profile so far, and his $350,000 donation amount through September was one of several strong showings among Democratic challengers in St. Louis-area congressional districts that have been increasingly trending Republican.

National Democrats have also targeted Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville and Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, and have tried to recruit candidates against them. But the fact that neither Davis nor Wagner was on the Citizens United list released Tuesday indicates that some Democrats see Bost as the most vulnerable in the St. Louis region.