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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - It's barely 2014. Candidates haven't even officially begun filing for this year's elections. Yet Missouri's 2016 gubernatorial campaign is in full swing.

Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster has been building a gubernatorial campaign for nearly a year. And this past week, Republican Catherine Hanaway declared her candidacy for governor. More Republicans could be positioning themselves to run.

Quick starts to campaigns are becoming increasingly common both nationally and especially in Missouri. That's because of the mounting pressure to raise money, line up supporters and lock down professional campaign consultants.

Political scientist Peverill Squire, of the University of Missouri-Columbia, says candidates who start early often are either heavyweights trying to clear the field of challengers or are facing an uphill battle and need extra time to build a campaign network.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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