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Dec. 31 a big day for year-end pleas for political contributions

Campaigns for Gov. Dayton and several of his GOP challengers all made last-minute pitches.

Dec. 31 was a day for celebrations, New Year’s resolutions – and plenty of pleas for political contributions from candidates hoping to improve their bottom line for end-of- year campaign finance reports.  

For example, Tom Perron, senior adviser to Gov. Mark Dayton’s re-election campaign, sent an email message marked “urgent.”

“I’ve been worried for the last few days about this urgent end-of-year filing deadline we’re facing. Trust me: It’s the most important of the campaign so far,” Perron wrote. The Dayton campaign, which had set a quarterly goal of $30,000, was pleading with donors to contribute at least $2,837 before the start of the new year.

A similar request came from Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Honour. “Before you begin your New Year’s celebrations tonight, please help us through tonight’s fundraising deadline,” he wrote.

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Two other GOP candidates for governor also sent New Year’s Eve missives.

“Can you help us meet our 2013 goal?” asked Jeff Johnson in his email. Rep. Kurt Zellers, meanwhile, made his pitch with a holiday-themed request for a donation of $14  and a message: “I’ll keep this brief — I know it’s a big night. It is for us, too — tonight is an important fundraising deadline for our campaign, and we really need you to show your support with a contribution before the ball drops at midnight.”

The requests all ask for small donations — as little as $5 — not unusual in bulk email requests. 

This year, candidates for governor can receive individual donations as large as $4,000. Donations to candidates for attorney general can be as large as $2,500, with donors to candidates for secretary of state and auditor limited to $2,000.

However, donations of these sizes usually come from personalized requests or at host-sponsored fundraisers, rather than in emails.

Candidates are required to file their year-end fundraising reports with the state Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board by Jan. 31.