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Bachmann leads the way as candidates build 2012 war chests

WASHINGTON — In all, Minnesotans raised more than $5.6 million last quarter — and more than a third of that came from Michele Bachmann alone.

Rep. Michele Bachmann
  • Some of candidates have begun loaning their campaigns personal money to bolster fundraising numbers. The most egregious of these was 1st District Republican Allen Quist, who cut himself a $170,000 cut and raised only about $8,000 from outside the Quist family. Democrat Jim Graves ($150,000) and Republican Lee Byberg ($45,000) also loaned themselves sizable amounts of personal funds to get their campaigns off the ground.
  • For many reasons, incumbents always have a natural fundraising advantage over their challengers, but nothing makes them happier than when the opposing party waits until mid-August to pick a candidate. With primary battles rage in their districts, Democrat Tim Walz and Republican Chip Cravaack are quietly amassing sizable war chests for a quick-and-dirty three-month fall campaign: Walz is sitting on $810,000 and holds a nearly 8-to-1 advantage over the best-funded Republican, and Cravaack has collected nearly $900,000 while the three DFLers looking to oppose him are spending themselves silly in the run-up to their primary.
  • Few neutral political prognosticators expect Michele Bachmann to face much of a challenge in November, but her national prominence and Tea Party appeal still make her the top fundraiser in the state’s congressional delegation. In raising $1.9 million, she accounts for nearly one-third of all the money collected by Minnesota incumbents and challengers this quarter.
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