The $1.1 million that state Rep. Erik Paulsen had on hand at the end of June for his race to replace retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad in Minnesota’s suburban Third Congressional District makes Paulsen the best funded of any Republican in the country seeking an open seat, according to an list of best-funded candidates compiled by Congressional Quarterly’s Greg Giroux.
Here’s the catch. Paulsen’s Dem opponent, Iraq vet Ashwin Madia, is also on the list of the 10 best-funded candidates for open seats. Madia had $738,000 on hand. The Minnesota Third is the only open seat race in the country in which both major party candidates made the CQ top 10 list, another indication of how high the race rates on both parties’ priorities lists.
Madia outraised Paulsen in the second quarter. If he keeps that up, he may stay even or pull ahead in the money race with Paulsen. But either way, it looks like neither candidate is going to lose this race because they weren’t able to get their message out and execute their campaign plan.
Like most of those who do such ratings, CQ rates the Third District race as a toss-up at this point.
A tiny bit more context from the Giroux CQ piece (which, by the way, isn’t about the Minnesota Third, it’s a list of best-funded of the 70 candidates in the 35 open-seat races). Paulsen actually ranks as the fourth-best-funded. He’s just the top Republican. Three Dems rank above him. The total top 10 list consists of seven Dems and three Repubs, which is yet another indication that the Dems have the wind at their backs this year.
Furthermore, none of the three Repubs on the list (including Paulsen, of course) represent potential GOP pickups in the House, because they are all seeking seats currently held by Republicans.
By contrast, to quote Giroux, “six of the seven Democrats on this list [including Madia] are seeking seats that Republican incumbents are leaving open.” So those six represent potential Dem pickups. The Dems go into the election with a 236-199 advantage in the House.