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GOP Sen. Thompson eager to share his fundraising results in governor’s race

Among Gov. Dayton’s challengers, early strong fundraising can be important as an indication of a serious campaign that has solid support.

Sen. Dave Thompson
Sen. Dave Thompson

Candidates for Minnesota governor are still working to determine their final 2013 fundraising tallies, but one GOP challenger is so pleased with his results that he’s eager to share the news.

State Sen. Dave Thompson of Lakeville, one of six Republican candidates for governor, said his campaign raised more than $120,000 last year — enough, he said, to show “this is a viable campaign.”

Thompson said he could not specify how much cash the campaign has on hand “because there are still checks coming in and bills to be paid. But we have enough to be competitive as we move into the caucuses [Feb. 4] and, of course, the endorsement process.”

Year-end campaign finance reports are due Jan. 31.

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Equally satisfied is the re-election campaign of Gov. Mark Dayton. In an email, Dayton told backers, “Because of supporters like you, we met our fundraising goal for 2013!”

Campaign director Katherine Tinucci said the campaign is still finalizing its report but indicated the campaign war chest now is in the seven figures. “It was a significant goal, and we surpassed it,” she said.

As of Sept. 30, the Dayton campaign had raised $628,457. Tinucci said 2013’s total fundraising will have come from outside donors — “no contributions, no loans from the candidate.”

As the incumbent, Dayton is expected to be well-funded for his re-election bid.

Among his GOP challengers, early strong fundraising totals are important — not just in enabling ongoing campaign activities but also as an indication of a serious campaign that has solid support.

Strong fundraising results could help a Republican candidate emerge from the pack and influence the party activists who will endorse a candidate at their state convention in May.

The campaigns for four of the other five GOP candidates — businessman Scott Honour, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, former House Minority eader Marty Seifert and Rep. Kurt Zellers — have not yet released fundraising estimates.

However, one candidate — Rob Farnsworth, the Hibbing high school teacher who had a reasonably strong showing in a Republican straw poll in October — told MinnPost that his campaign had raised relatively little.

“I can tell you that our fundraising numbers are going to come in much lower than the other candidates,” he said. “We expect to come in below $10,000.”

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Seifert, who entered the race in late November, also downplayed the expectations.

“My challenge, compared to all other candidates — they had six full months … to line up commitments from donors,” he said. “I have never taken contributions from lobbyists, and I had less than 40 days to raise money, while competing against Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve.”