Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) started 2011 with a significant financial advantage over her potential Republican challengers.
She reported more than $900,000 banked as of Jan. 1, having raised $134,742 in the final quarter of the year. One of her two declared GOP rivals, Ed Martin, reported close to $40,000 in cash on hand, which he rolled over from his 2010 challenge to Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.). Martin raised close to $1.5 million for that race, which he lost by less than 5,000 votes.
The latest campaign finance report for state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, the only other declared GOP candidate in the race, wasn't yet available Tuesday.
Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), who is considering a run against McCaskill, reported having less than $30,000 in the bank at the start of the year.
Meanwhile, McCaskill's delicate political situation — wherein she has to balance her appeal to Democrats and independents simultaneously — was on full display Tuesday.
She took to the Senate floor to join with Republicans in proposing deep budget cuts, which she said could cost her reelection.
"If this bill is distorted and twisted, it could cost me my Senate seat, but it's a price I am willing to pay," McCaskill said in a floor speech supporting the bill on Tuesday.
She also defended two controversial bills: the financial bailout and the Democrats' stimulus program, calling it "a bogeyman."
"I am so sick of that being blamed. It is so wrong. ... The stimulus was a one-time expenditure. It is not something that goes on; it has no tail. One-third of the stimulus was tax cuts ... and another third almost was unemployment benefits," she said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
"TARP? Let's be honest. It was a genius decision in many ways and it stabilized our economy."
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that McCaskill told Democratic leaders that her reelection bid could be complicated if the party's 2012 convention were held in St. Louis.
The Democratic National Committee announced on Tuesday it chose Charlotte, N.C., to host the event.
McCaskill apparently "took her concerns directly to the White House," which signed off on Charlotte.