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Campaign finance reports show candidate raising, spending as Hennepin County attorney, sheriff races heat up

But will it translate to votes come Aug. 9? 

In his bid for Hennepin County sheriff, Jai Hanson, a Bloomington police officer, has raised nearly $39,000 and has $28,000 on hand.
In his bid for Hennepin County sheriff, Jai Hanson, a Bloomington police officer, has raised nearly $39,000 and has $28,000 on hand.
MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley


Last week, candidates running for Hennepin County offices were required to file pre-primary campaign finance reports.

The reports — the first look at campaign finance since the campaigns for Hennepin County attorney and sheriff got seriously underway — cover the campaign cycle through July 25.

While not all the reports are in yet, here’s a look at what the reports tell us so far about how much candidates are raising and spending, and who’s supporting them. This story will be updated as more reports are made publicly available on the Hennepin County campaign finance website.

This story was last updated at 7:23 p.m. on Aug. 2. Campaign finance data for Hennepin County attorney candidate Martha Holton Dimick and sheriff candidate Dawanna Witt have been added.

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Hennepin County attorney

The Hennepin County attorney race is an open seat election following news, in September, that Mike Freeman, who has been in the office for much of the last three decades, would not seek reelection. It has drawn more than a few contenders.

State Rep. Ryan Winkler
State Rep. Ryan Winkler
In August, a primary will narrow the nonpartisan field down to the two top vote-getters, who will be on the ballot in November.

Of the reports available Tuesday morning, state Rep. Ryan Winkler had raised, by far, the most money in seeking the county attorney seat; nearly $234,000. His report shows financial support from many members of the House DFL caucus, of which he serves as the majority leader. His financial supporters include many law firm and state employees, developer Kelly Doran, Stan Hubbard of Hubbard Broadcasting, Minneapolis Downtown Council President Steve Cramer, Andrew and Eric Dayton as well as major DFL donors like Alida Messinger, Vance Opperman, Sam and Sylvia Kaplan and Jay Cowles. Winkler also received campaign contributions from several trade union and law firms’ political funds. 

Hennepin County attorney filings
Note: The filing for Jarvis Jones was not yet available on the Hennepin County website. Amount raised includes both cash and in-kind contributions.
Source: Hennepin County

The report shows Winkler is going into the primary with a significant amount of cash on hand, at nearly $145,000.

Chief Hennepin County Public Defender Mary Moriarty
Mary Moriarty
Mary Moriarty, the former chief public defender for Hennepin County and who is endorsed by the DFL, raised nearly $145,000. Many of her donors list their occupations as attorneys or as public employees, and her donors include former SEIU Local 26 president Javier Morillo, state Sen. Chris Eaton and Clockwork CEO Nancy Lyons. She had nearly $36,000 on hand going into the primary.

Martha Holton Dimick, a retired Hennepin County district court judge, has raised $135,000. Among her donors are Cowles, former mayoral candidate Tom Hoch, Minneapolis City Council member Michael Rainville, Cramer, University of Minnesota Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Myron Frans and Sondra Hollinger-Samuels of the Northside Achievement Zone. She also received contributions from the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association fund, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Deputy Association. She had $72,200 on hand.

Saraswati Singh, a Ramsey County prosecutor, has raised $44,500, including $1,000 from state Rep. Esther Agbaje, and her donor list includes many attorneys. She has $4,410 on hand going into the primary.

Paul Ostrow, an assistant county attorney in Anoka County’s criminal division, has raised $25,300. His donors include former gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner and Cramer. He has about $8,300 on hand.

Tad Jude, a former district court judge in Washington County, raised $12,000, including $2,000 from conservative donors Bob and Joan Cummins. Jude had $3,800 on hand.

As of publication, a pre-primary report was not available on the Hennepin County website for Jarvis Jones. This story will be updated as more reports are made public.

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Hennepin County sheriff

The Hennepin County sheriff’s race became an open seat election after Sheriff Dave Hutchinson announced he would not be running for reelection in February. In December, Hutchinson pleaded guilty to fourth-degree misdemeanor drunken driving after a rollover crash in a sheriff’s car he was driving.

On the Aug. 9 primary ballot, Hennepin County voters will choose from three candidates running to replace Hutchinson. The top two candidates will advance to the general election.

Dawanna Witt supervises court security and adult detention in the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office. Witt’s report is not yet available on the Hennepin County campaign finance website, but Danielle Baggett, a campaign assistant to Witt, sent it to MinnPost. She said Witt’s report was filed on July 29, the deadline. Witt raised $52,300 and had about $20,000 on hand.

Witt’s contributors include Hennepin County attorney candidate Martha Holton Dimick, Rainville, former council president Jackie Cherryhomes, Hoch, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority’s Michael Vekich, Cramer of the Downtown Council, and major DFL donors Opperman and Cowles. The Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council and AFSCME Council 5 also donated to her campaign.

Jai Hanson, a Bloomington police officer, has raised nearly $39,000 and has $28,000 on hand.

Hennepin County sheriff filings
Note: Amount raised includes both cash and in-kind contributions.
Source: Hennepin County

Joseph Banks, has raised about $4,500, largely through self-contributions, and has about $550 on hand.

Editor’s note: Three people mentioned in this story have ties to MinnPost. Tom Horner is a MinnPost board member and Jay Cowles and Tom Hoch are major donors. Board members and donors are not involved in MinnPost’s news decisions.