Bonoff raised $213,000 and Madia raised $161,000, figures that confirm the emphasis that this race will receive from Democrats.
Bonoff, who is considered the front-runner, entered the race 10 days before the close of the third quarter and raised $88,500 in just those 10 days, giving her more than $300,000 for the year. Her early fundraising prowess may have been a factor in keeping several other potential candidates out of the race.
While Madia raised less than Bonoff in the fourth quarter, he says his quarterly result should put to rest any concerns about whether he can finance a competitive race. Both figures are higher than the amounts several prominent House candidates raised in their first quarter in the last cycle, including Republican Michele Bachmann and Democrats Tim Waltz and Keith Ellison, all of whom were elected.
Bonoff, Madia and Edina Mayor Jim Hovland are competing for the DFL endorsement in the race and have all pledged to abide by it.
Hovland formally announced for the seat just this week, but has been running for a few weeks. His campaign manager, Jack Harris, said Hovland hadn’t completed the paperwork for his fourth quarter Federal Election Commission fund-raising report, but would file and release his totals before the Jan. 31 deadline.
Madia is an attorney and an Iraq veteran making his first bid for office. He was recently endorsed by the DFL Veterans Caucus and Vote Vets.
But Bonoff, a state senator from Minnetonka, also has a long list of endorsements by fellow legislators and by politically influential organizations, including the public employees union AFSCME and Emily’s List. Emily’s List steers substantial contributions, mostly to pro-choice women candidates, and hasn’t yet sent out a solicitation on Bonoff’s behalf to its donor list, Bonoff campaign manager Ken Sanguin said, so she has the prospect of raising substantial additional sums. Bonoff said 97 percent of her fourth quarter contributions came from Minnesotans.
The leading Republican candidate for the seat is state Rep. Erik Paulsen of Eden Prairie, who has not yet formally announced and whose campaign did not return a phone call to inquire about his quarterly fundraising report. Paulsen’s candidacy, and the whole race, has been under a small cloud of doubt concerning the intentions of the incumbent 3rd District Rep. Jim Ramstad.
Ramstad, a nine-term Republican, announced last fall that he would not seek another term, which set off a scramble among potential candidates in both parties. Ramstad has never retracted, and still says that he has “no plans” to seek another term, but there has been evidence that he is reconsidering his decision, which Ramstad has fed by declining all interviews and refusing to clarify that he still plans to retire. The 3rd District, comprising southern, western and northern suburbs of Minneapolis, has been represented by three Republican congressmen since 1970, and Ramstad would have been considered a good bet for reelection. But without the popular incumbent, the district is considered up for grabs and has been on many national lists of hot House races for 2008.
It is unusual to hold a press conference to announce a quarterly fund-raising report, as Madia did this morning. Madia’s statement makes clear, without mentioning any names, that Madia is seeking to put to rest any talk that Bonoff is the only DFL candidate who can raise the funds necessary to win the seat.
Bonoff, Hovland and Madia will appear together at 7 p.m. Friday on TPT Channel 2’s “Almanac” Friday.