With late campaign start, Seifert fundraising finishes in middle of GOP gubernatorial pack

Former House Majority Leader Marty Seifert is not at the top of the GOP field of gubernatorial candidates in his 2013 fundraising, but he is the first to report what he actually has in his campaign bank account.

The Seifert campaign reported Tuesday that it had raised $150,000 in 2013 and has $138,400 “cash on hand” after expenses. He said the contributions came from small and large donors, with no contributions from lobbyists.

Seifert says he knew his late November start would affect fundraising totals. “We started with 6 dollars and 8 cents, and we didn’t do anything until I announced — Nov. 21,” he said.  “That was a tough time, but we think we came out with a good number.” 

In the race to secure the Republican nomination and take on Gov. Mark Dayton in November, businessman Scott Honour leads with $500,000 in contributions.

State Rep. Kurt Zellers reported $400,000, followed by Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson with $240,000 and state Sen. Dave Thompson at $120,000. Hibbing schoolteacher Rob Farnsworth has not reported an official number but said he raised less than $10,000.

The question that candidates now faces is the so-called “burn rate,” what it costs to raise money.  Seifert reports that his campaign had a relatively low burn rate of 8 percent.

Those details will be revealed in a few days. Candidates for state offices must file their financial reports by Friday with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Disclosure Board.

Precinct caucuses, the first step in a candidate’s quest for party endorsement, will take place Feb. 4.

Given the timing, Seifert said he doubted that most caucus attendees would be aware of the candidates’ bottom-line campaign funds.

“Do caucus-goers pay close attention?” he asked. “They probably do not. There is something to be said that a lot of the Republican rank and file don’t care about fundraising.”

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