U.S. House campaign contributions: What are Minnesota’s most partisan cities?

While yesterday’s Smart Politics report revealed that the tiny city of Wayzata has left the biggest footprint in campaign fundraising to Minnesota U.S. House candidates — particularly for Republicans — the west metro suburb is not the city with the largest GOP tilt when it comes to which political party Minnesotans direct their campaign dollars.

Wayzata is a staple for GOP fundraising, to be sure. Republican congressional candidates have raised more money from Wayzatans ($289,020) than any other city in the state — including Minneapolis, which has approximately 100 times the number of residents ($288,893).

But Wayzata is also the fourth largest donor to DFL congressional candidates this election cycle, at $126,100 through mid-July, behind only Minneapolis ($758,457), St. Paul ($279,055) and Edina ($155,775).

Thus, while the GOP fundraising from Wayzatans is notable, the 70/30 percent split it enjoys over Democrats does not come close to the partisan tilt in campaign contributions seen in other cities around the Gopher State.

Smart Politics examined the partisan giving to Minnesota U.S. House candidates from the 44 cities in Minnesota that have contributed at least $20,000 in itemized individual contributions for the election cycle to date.

The donations from residents in these 44 cities tally $4.3 million, or 81 percent of the $5.3 million that has been donated to all Minnesota U.S. House candidates from some 599 cities and towns across the state.

The overall distribution of funds from these 44 cities is basically even between Republican candidates ($2,208,768) and DFLers ($2,111,660).

And what cities have the biggest partisan tilt when it comes to campaign contributions by its residents in Minnesota U.S. House races?

Twenty-nine of these 44 cities had a fundraising advantage in the favor of the Republican Party, but none more so than the City of Champlin in the 3rd Congressional District.

Champlin residents have given 100 percent of their $35,855 in large donor contributions to Republican U.S. House candidates this election cycle, without a single large donor sending money to a DFLer.

Although the city is represented by Republican Erik Paulsen in the U.S. House, the plurality of funds was directed to 6th CD GOPer Michele Bachmann ($9,755). Another $9,600 went to 2nd CD Representative John Kline, with $8,500 to Paulsen and $8,000 to 1st CD challenger Randy Demmer.

Champlin’s $35K + in large donor contributions ranks 24th in the Gopher State overall this election cycle.

But the curious thing about the severe partisan tilt for Champlin’s campaign contributions is that the city is not heavily Republican.

In the 2008 presidential election, John McCain carried Champlin by just 4.7 points, 51.5 percent to 46.8 percent for Barack Obama.

And while Erik Paulsen carried each of the city’s four precincts by between 9 and 19 points in his U.S. House race against Ashwin Madia, DFL state representative Denise Dittrich carried each precinct by between 12 and 23 points.

The city with the second largest partisan advantage toward the GOP in campaign contributions to Minnesota’s U.S. House candidates is the small town of Lakeland in the 6th CD.

With a 2000 Census population of just shy of 2,000 residents, Lakeland has donated $32,475 thus far to Minnesota’s congressional candidates, which is good for 28th highest in the state. The city’s $16.94 contribution-per-resident rate is 10th highest in the state.

Lakeland residents have donated a whopping 98.5 percent of their large donor funds to Republican candidates ($31,975) thus far in the election cycle, compared to just 1.5 percent to DFLers ($500).

Lakeland’s Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has received over half of this money, at $16,575, with Kline next at $9,600 and then Paulsen at $5,800.

These lopsided donations from Lakeland residents to Republican U.S. House officeholders is odd, particularly those to Bachmann, considering DFLer Elwyn Tinklenberg carried the city by 7.1 points in the 2008 congressional race (47.9 to 40.8 percent over Bachmann).

Moreover, Lakeland residents also voted for Obama in the 2008 presidential election — defeating McCain 49.2 to 48.0 percent in the city.

Five other cities with substantial large donor contributions this election cycle have also given more than 90 percent of their funds to Republican candidates: Granite Falls (95.1 percent), Waconia (93.5 percent), Prior Lake (93.1 percent), Willmar (93.0 percent) and Medina (92.0 percent).

Minnesota cities with Republican tilt in itemized individual contributions to Gopher State U.S. House candidates

Rank

City

DFL

GOP

% DFL

% GOP

Total

1

Champlin

$0

$35,855

0.0

100.0

$35,855

2

Lakeland

$500

$31,975

1.5

98.5

$32,475

3

Granite Falls

$1,000

$19,450

4.9

95.1

$20,450

4

Waconia

$2,100

$30,255

6.5

93.5

$32,355

5

Prior Lake

$3,875

$52,485

6.9

93.1

$56,360

6

Willmar

$2,250

$30,012

7.0

93.0

$32,262

7

Medina

$3,150

$36,084

8.0

92.0

$39,234

8

Long Lake

$5,950

$43,700

12.0

88.0

$49,650

9

Sartell

$3,400

$19,075

15.1

84.9

$22,475

10

Lake Elmo

$3,650

$17,570

17.2

82.8

$21,220

11

Eden Prairie

$34,680

$161,332

17.7

82.3

$196,012

12

Orono

$4,750

$21,425

18.1

81.9

$26,175

13

Burnsville

$17,400

$63,366

21.5

78.5

$80,766

14

Excelsior

$26,700

$92,952

22.3

77.7

$119,652

15

Plymouth

$17,150

$43,194

28.4

71.6

$60,344

16

Lakeville

$6,430

$15,649

29.1

70.9

$22,079

17

Winona

$13,610

$32,535

29.5

70.5

$46,145

18

Wayzata

$126,100

$289,020

30.4

69.6

$415,120

19

Bloomington

$17,125

$39,066

30.5

69.5

$56,191

20

St. Peter

$8,300

$17,625

32.0

68.0

$25,925

21

Andover

$9,625

$19,510

33.0

67.0

$29,135

22

Maple Grove

$8,060

$15,110

34.8

65.2

$23,170

23

Woodbury

$24,400

$45,230

35.0

65.0

$69,630

24

Mound

$10,750

$15,224

41.4

58.6

$25,974

25

Hopkins

$13,147

$17,500

42.9

57.1

$30,647

26

Mahtomedi

$9,450

$11,628

44.8

55.2

$21,078

27

Edina

$153,775

$181,382

45.9

54.1

$335,157

28

White Bear Lake

$24,975

$26,620

48.4

51.6

$51,595

29

Duluth

$17,025

$17,917

48.7

51.3

$34,942

Note: Campaign contributions from Jan. 1, 2009, through July 21, 2010. Source: Federal Election Commission. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

But some big donor cities in the Gopher State have also witnessed a decidedly Democratic advantage to their congressional campaign contributions this election cycle — and no more so than the north metro City of Anoka.

Anoka residents have given $41,677 to Minnesota’s U.S. House candidates through mid-July, which ranks 21st highest in the state.

Of that total, 92.6 percent has been directed to DFL candidates ($38,600) with just 7.4 percent to Republicans ($3,077).

The majority of this money has gone to support the city’s 6th CD DFL challengers: $9,900 to Tarryl Clark, $9,600 to Elwyn Tinklenberg, and $500 to Maureen Reed. Tim Walz also received a sizable $9,850 from Anoka residents.

Despite this imbalance in fundraising, the city did not break toward Democratic candidates in 2008 in large numbers. Barack Obama carried the city by just 3.9 points, 50.7 to 46.8 percent, with John McCain carrying the 3rd and 8th Precincts.

Moreover, Republican Norm Coleman carried five of the eight precincts in his U.S. Senate race against Al Franken, winning Anoka by a 2.4-point margin (42.3 to 39.9 percent).

Additionally, Republican state Rep. Jim Abeler won all eight precincts, including seven of them by more than 20 points.

Despite the competitiveness of Republican candidates in the city, Anoka residents are not opening up their checkbooks to GOP U.S. House candidates.

But while Republicans are enjoying a more than 2:1 fundraising advantage in 21 cities among those that have contributed at least $20,000 in the election cycle to date, only three such cities have 2:1 Democratic tilts: Anoka, Elk River (84.7 percent) and Minneapolis (72.4 percent).

In fact, it is only because the DFL advantage is as strong as it is in Minneapolis, that the party remains competitive in the large-donor arena overall.

DFLers outgained Republicans by more than $469,000 in Minneapolis ($758,457 to $288,893), but only by $306,747 in the other 14 major cities combined in which they had a large donor contribution advantage for U.S. House races ($783,876 to $477,129).

In short, large donor support runs narrow but deep for the DFL and wider and more shallow for the Republicans.

Minnesota cities with Democratic tilt in itemized individual contributions to Gopher State U.S. House candidates

Rank

City

DFL

GOP

% DFL

% GOP

Total

1

Anoka

$38,600

$3,077

92.6

7.4

$41,677

2

Elk River

$23,800

$4,305

84.7

15.3

$28,105

3

Minneapolis

$758,457

$288,893

72.4

27.6

$1,047,405

4

Stillwater

$54,300

$27,845

66.1

33.9

$82,145

5

North Mankato

$18,550

$9,680

65.7

34.3

$28,230

6

Golden Valley

$36,950

$20,290

64.6

35.4

$57,240

7

Mankato

$34,395

$19,800

63.5

36.5

$54,195

8

St. Cloud

$66,649

$39,213

63.0

37.0

$105,862

9

St. Paul

$279,055

$165,740

62.7

37.3

$444,795

10

Eagan

$20,000

$13,421

59.8

40.2

$33,421

11

North Oaks

$15,350

$10,355

59.7

40.3

$25,705

12

Roseville

$21,760

$15,625

58.2

41.8

$37,385

13

Rochester

$75,917

$60,266

55.7

44.3

$136,183

14

Mendota Heights

$18,975

$16,820

53.0

47.0

$35,795

14

Minnetonka

$79,575

$70,692

53.0

47.0

$150,267

Note: Campaign contributions from Jan. 1, 2009, through July 21, 2010. Source: Federal Election Commission. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

This article appeared on Smart Politics, the blog of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Smart Politics provides non-partisan analysis of public policy and statewide and district elections for Upper Midwestern and national politics.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Arito Moerair on 09/02/2010 - 01:34 pm.

    Maybe the age of the city (and its housing stock) matters. With the exception of places like Elk River (which I *CANNOT BELIEVE* went to the DFL — maybe it’s the result of one single person donating a bunch of money), most of the DFL-heavy areas are older cities, even though many of them are fairly wealthy.

    And I’m not surprised to see strong DFL showings in places like Edina and Wayzata, which are both obviously very wealthy, but are also old areas and have lots of pretty strong progressives.

    Not at all surprised to see the Republicans do well in newer places like Woodbury, Lakeville, Maple Grove, Eden Prairie.

  2. Submitted by Brian Simon on 09/02/2010 - 02:17 pm.

    Like David, I have to wonder if a small number of individuals is having an outsize influence in certain smaller towns. Anoka is the shocker to me; hardly a bastion of liberalism, as far as I can tell.

  3. Submitted by David Willard on 09/02/2010 - 11:14 pm.

    NOT surprised to see the guilt-ridden second and third generation money to go “progressive.” As Dayton has shown, there is a strong pull toward “I have mine and what did I do to deserve this?” type of sad, comfy life. it’s what the progressyves need now. Nevermind the new creative minds and ideas. Only the old money needs to protect itself.

  4. Submitted by Max Hailperin on 09/03/2010 - 09:18 pm.

    Commenter #2 seem to be right about “a small number of individuals having an outsize influence in certain smaller towns.” One sign pointing that way just in the article is the number of dollars per candidate. The per-donor limit is $2400 for the primary and another $2400 for the general election, so a couple that both double-maxes produces $9600. If you look at the article’s breakdown across candidates of Champlin and Anoka giving, you’ll see that they are essentially all at or below this magic $9600 number, with the exceptions being just slightly over (as would be produced by a small-time donor added to the double-max couple). So this looks like there really is nothing going on with the politics of those cities, per se, but rather with one couple that lives in each of the. If you look at the FEC database (or previously published articles on Minnesota’s big donors), you you can even identify who those couples are.

  5. Submitted by Max Hailperin on 09/03/2010 - 09:44 pm.

    The article remarks that “In short, large donor support runs narrow but deep for the DFL and wider and more shallow for the Republicans.” This seems to be a fancy way of saying that large DFL donors favor urban living whereas large Republican donors favor suburban living.

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