Minnesota’s 6th District Rep. Michele Bachmann, the recipient of extensive national media attention, finished first in fundraising among her colleagues in the state’s congressional delegation, according to first-quarter financial reports.
In addition to her growing national profile, the Republican’s fundraising success likely also stems from concern in some quarters that she could be financially vulnerable in 2010.
Her 2008 opponent, El Tinklenberg, had nearly $453,000 on hand at the end of the election and still has $183,503. Tinklenberg gave away significant chunks of his war chest, returning $250,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and much smaller amounts to Minnesota members’ PACs and election committees.
The political financial measurement that most insiders monitor is the amount raised.
Third District freshman Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen finished second in fundraising, likely in anticipation of another tough race in 2010.
After fundraising, observers look at the amount of cash on hand.
Eighth District Rep. Jim Oberstar and 7th District Rep. Collin Peterson reported the biggest cash-on-hand balances. But as the chairs of key House committees, the two Democrats are the least likely to need them. Oberstar heads the House Transportation Committee, and Peterson leads the House Agricultural Committee. Fundraising is generally easier for chairmen of committees because of the influence they wield over policy and spending projects.
Overall, the numbers didn’t fluctuate significantly, compared with the comparable quarter in 2007. The closer we get to 2010, the more that activity and cash will increase.
Here’s a quick look at totals (rounded to the nearest dollar) for the year’s first quarter and the percentage difference from those levels in the first quarter of 2007:
|House Member||1Q ’09||
% Variance from 1Q ’07
|Rep. Tim Walz (1)|
|Cash on Hand:||$111,307||-28%|
|Rep. John Kline (2)|
|Cash on Hand:||$103,002||– 9%|
|Rep. Erik Paulsen (3)|
|Cash on Hand:||$190,960||N/A|
|Rep. Betty McCollum (4)|
|Cash on Hand:||$102,412||+35 %|
|Rep. Keith Ellison (5)|
|Cash on Hand:||$54,461||-83%|
|Rep. Michele Bachmann (6)|
|Cash on Hand:||$224,447||+12%|
|Rep. Collin Peterson (7)|
|Cash on Hand:||$437,443||+116%|
|Rep. James Oberstar (8)|
|Raised:||$192,658||– 15 %|
|Cash on Hand:||$836,129||+ 276 %|
In future quarters, Tinklenberg will be the challenger to watch. If he chooses to run again, he will start with a healthy balance. Having a well-financed challenger, though, also will benefit Bachmann, who can use that situation to grow her account balance.
The incumbent to watch will be Paulsen. As a freshman, Paulsen and his fundraising will be closely watched by both Republicans and Democrats to determine whether he will be vulnerable.