Missouri Republican Sarah Steelman raised more than $200,000 in the first month of her bid for the GOP nod to challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill (D).

Steelman, who announced her run on Dec. 1, bested McCaskill's fourth-quarter total by almost $70,000, a warning sign for the first-term Democrat.

Steelman's cash-on-hand figure also eclipses those of her rivals for the GOP Senate nomination. She has $188,867 banked whereas former House candidate Ed Martin has about $40,000 and Rep. Sam Graves, who has yet to announce his intentions, reported having less than $30,000 in the bank at the start of the year.

Steelman reported spending about $20,000 in the first month of her effort.

Still, McCaskill maintains a financial edge over the Republicans. She reported more than $900,000 banked as of Jan. 1. And she's clearly aware of the need to outpace her potential challengers as they battle for the nomination. McCaskill recently told Missouri reporters that one of the first staffers she hired for her campaign was a fundraiser.