WASHINGTON — The first quarter fundraising deadline was Tuesday, giving us an update on the money race in all the major contests around Minnesota seven months ahead of Election Day.
We’ve updated our campaign finance dashboard, so head there to take a look at the numbers. Here are a few take-aways:
Nolan bounces back: After two quarters in which he was out-raised by his Republican opponent Stewart Mills, 8th District Rep. Rick Nolan turned in his best quarter in a year and a half, raising $249,000 and bringing his cash-on-hand total to $478,000. Nolan needed a good showing to prevent a third-straight quarterly shortfall, because Mills had the strongest fundraising quarter among congressional challengers, raising $202,000 and sitting on $355,000.
Outside groups are already spending a bit of cash in the 8th, and national Republicans promoted Mills up their list of promising challengers last month, which opens to the door to more fundraising and logistics support for his campaign. National forecasters consistently rank this the most competitive of Minnesota’s congressional races, and the money race seems to reflect that so far.
Minnesota’s two other out-state Democrats had good fundraising quarters. After announcing a re-election bid, Rep. Collin Peterson had his best quarter of the cycle, bringing in $218,000 to opponent Torrey Westrom’s $120,000. He has a $470,000 edge in the cash-on-hand race there. And Rep. Tim Walz raised just $190,000, but his newly-endorsed opponent, Aaron Miller, struggled to raise any money at all: he brought in $7,550, though he has loaned his campaign $120,000 so far this cycle.
Franken keeps up his strong pace: Sen. Al Franken ratcheted up his anti-outside money email campaign twice last quarter, first attacking the Citizens United Supreme Court decision on its anniversary and then asking for help combating a negative ad buy against him in March. Along the way, he turned in a big quarter, raising $2.7 million off of more than 76,000 donations, according to his campaign, and banking nearly $6 million for his re-election bid.
Mike McFadden was the only one of Franken’s potential opponents to report fundraising totals. He raised $600,000 between January and March, making it his weakest quarter as a candidate so far by about $100,000. But he certainly outraised his main Republican opponents, including state Sen. Julianne Ortman, who said she had 6,000 new donors but didn’t release fundraising totals.
McFadden has $1.8 million in the bank; Ortman had $114,000 on hand in December.
Republican incumbents have big leads: Tuesday was a good day for Rep. John Kline, who not only opened up an 8-to-1 cash-on-hand lead on his presumed Democratic opponent Mike Obermueller but won a new “Safe Republican” ranking from the Rothenberg Political Report forecasters. Kline has $1.6 million banked to Obermueller’s $238,000, a healthy cash lead …
… but nothing like Rep. Erik Paulsen’s in the 3rd District. Paulsen raised $444,000 in the first quarter, the most among the state’s House delegation by far, and with $1.9 million in the bank, he has a blinding 69-to-1 cash advantage on his lone Democratic opponent Sharon Sund. Sund announced her candidacy on March 13 and raised a respectable $33,000 in two weeks, and she’s brought on former gubernatorial candidate Matt Entenza as the volunteer head of her finance committee, but the campaign is facing a rather imposing fundraising disadvantage.
In the 6th District’s Republican primary, candidates Rhonda Sivarajah and Phil Krinkie have continued to self-fund, loaning their campaigns an additional $170,000 and $50,000 last quarter respectively. If not for their personal contributions, they would never be able to compete with newly-endorsed candidate Tom Emmer, who raised $206,000 last quarter: Krinkie received $12,000 from donors, and Sivarajah brought in just $2,740.
As it stands, Krinkie actually has a slight edge in the cash-on-hand department, $291,000 to Emmer’s $253,000.
Devin Henry can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @dhenry