Republican-linked groups spent millions on the campaign for the Minnesota House. Republicans lost 18 seats

The spending from these independent expenditure committees dwarfs what candidates can raise and spend.

It was a tough year for Republicans in Minnesota, and that wasn’t something money could fix. Despite attempts to localize House races, the November midterm election was largely a referendum on President Donald Trump, mostly adjudicated in the Twin Cities suburbs.

DFLers’ success in the suburbs propelled them to victories in the competitive governor’s race, attorney general’s race and in the race for the Minnesota House of Representatives.

But how money was spent shows that GOP groups were doing what they could to make a bad situation better. According to year-end reports filed last week with the state Campaign Finance Board, Democrat-affiliated groups spent heavily in the governor’s race, while Republican groups appeared to devote their resources in an attempt to hold the House.

Those spending patterns were established after the August primary and continued through the end of the campaign.

All-told, Democratic outside groups outspent Republican groups by nearly five-to-one in the governor’s race, while Republicans outspent Democrats by nearly 50 percent on House races. (An important caveat: The Minnesota Jobs Coalition, a major Republican-affiliated spending group, had not filed its report by last week’s deadline and is not included in the data.) The flow toward House races by GOP-leaning groups began once Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson surprised everyone except perhaps himself in defeating former Gov. Tim Pawlenty in the Republican primary for governor.

The spending map

Outside spending is money spent to influence elections by groups outside the candidate’s campaign, including party-affiliated groups.They are banned from coordinating with the campaigns, but they’re run by political veterans who know the ropes.

(That spending is separate from money donated directly to campaigns and spent by the candidates, and usually amounts to far greater than candidates spend. In direct spending, Democratic nominee for governor Tim Walz raised $4.6 million, including a public subsidy of $480,333, and spent $4.6 million. Johnson raised $2.7 million with a subsidy total of $361,259. Johnson spent $2.7 million.)

The pattern of fleeing the governor’s race and trying instead to hold on to the GOP majority in the House was so well established that even Pawlenty himself followed it. His year-end report showed that he distributed money he raised for a general election he wasn’t going to be part of mostly toward legislative races.

Outside spending in governor, House races
Source: Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board

Pawlenty made token donations to three of his party’s nominees for statewide office: $15,000 to Johnson, $5,000 to attorney general nominee Doug Wardlow and $1,000 to state auditor nominee Pam Myhra. But his biggest check — $70,000 — went to a political committee that spent much of its money attacking House DFL candidates. The Minnesota Jobs Coalition had already spent $710,000 through October 22. While it has not yet filed its year-end report, DFL candidates continued to suffer attack mailings from the coalition.

Pawlenty gave another $20,000 to the House Republican Campaign Committee and made individual contributions of $1,000 each to 18 House GOP candidates and 11 Republican Senate candidates who won’t be on the ballot until 2020.

To that end, Pawlenty made his final donation in a way that shows his campaign is aware of the stakes next election, giving $5,000 to Sen. Paul Anderson of Plymouth who is considered the most-vulnerable Republican in 2020.

And where is his district? In the same suburbs that provided the DFL with its winning majority last election.

Where else did Minnesota’s big spenders put their money?

The attorney general race

The spending differential in the attorney general’s race was even more stark than the governor’s. Groups seeking to help elect DFLer Keith Ellison spent nearly $2 million, or more than 12 times the $162,000 spent to help elect Republican Doug Wardlow.

Outside spending in the attorney general race
Source: Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board

Almost all of the outside money spent to help Ellison came from the DFL State Central Committee, listed as having spent nearly $1.9 million, largely on TV, radio and digital ads against Wardlow.

Where spending by candidates is concerned, eventual winner Ellison raised $1.148 million and spent 1.105 million. His subsidy was $96,067. GOP-nominee Wardlow nearly matched Ellison’s totals, raising $949,203, spending $937,614 and receiving $72,252 in public subsidy.

The Minnesota House

Groups supporting Republican candidates for the Minnesota House spent at least $1.5 million more than their DFL-aligned counterparts. It wasn’t enough for Republicans to hold the House. Despite the spending differential, Democrats picked up 18 seats to take the majority.

In the battle for control of the House, the Twin Cities suburbs saw the lion’s share of spending.

Outside spending for GOP

Greater MinnesotaMetro
2A House District 2A

No spending data reported

1A House District 1A

No spending data reported

1B House District 1B

No spending data reported

2B House District 2B

No spending data reported

6A House District 6A

No spending data reported

6B House District 6B

No spending data reported

3B House District 3B

No spending data reported

3A House District 3A
International Falls

Total spending: $23,456.81

Candidates:
  • Rob Ecklund (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Randy Goutermont (R)
4A House District 4A

No spending data reported

4B House District 4B
Dilworth

Total spending: $34,010.41

Candidates:
  • Paul Marquart (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Jason Peterson (R)
5A House District 5A
Pennington

Total spending: $105,272.29

Candidates:
  • John Persell (DFL)
  • Matt Bliss (R) (Incumbent)
5B House District 5B
Cohasset

Total spending: $157,763.19

Candidates:
  • Pat Medure (DFL)
  • Sandy Layman (R) (Incumbent)
7B House District 7B

No spending data reported

7A House District 7A

No spending data reported

8A House District 8A

No spending data reported

8B House District 8B

No spending data reported

10A House District 10A

No spending data reported

10B House District 10B

No spending data reported

11A House District 11A
Esko

Total spending: $26,775.87

Candidates:
  • Mike Sundin (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Jeff A. Dotseth (R)
30A House District 30A

No spending data reported

30B House District 30B

No spending data reported

35A House District 35A

No spending data reported

35B House District 35B

No spending data reported

31B House District 31B
East Bethel

Total spending: $589.11

Candidates:
  • Sue Larson (DFL)
  • Calvin (Cal) K. Bahr (R) (Incumbent)
32B House District 32B

No spending data reported

12A House District 12A


Total spending: $363.60

Candidates:
  • Murray Smart (DFL)
  • Jeff Backer (R) (Incumbent)
9A House District 9A

No spending data reported

9B House District 9B

No spending data reported

15B House District 15B
Becker

Total spending: $1,000.00

Candidates:
  • Karla Scapanski (DFL)
  • Shane Mekeland (R)
11B House District 11B

No spending data reported

34A House District 34A
Rogers

Total spending: $17,502.42

Candidates:
  • Dan Solon (DFL)
  • Kristin Robbins (R)
36A House District 36A
Champlin

Total spending: $306,083.21

Candidates:
  • Zack Stephenson (DFL)
  • Bill Maresh (R)
36B House District 36B

No spending data reported

37A House District 37A
Spring Lake Park

Total spending: $256,594.62

Candidates:
  • Erin Koegel (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Anthony Wilder (R)
37B House District 37B
Blaine

Total spending: $112,464.47

Candidates:
  • Amir Joseph Malik (DFL)
  • Nolan West (R) (Incumbent)
38A House District 38A

No spending data reported

38B House District 38B
Dellwood

Total spending: $190,246.65

Candidates:
  • Ami Wazlawik (DFL)
  • Patti Anderson (R)
39A House District 39A

No spending data reported

12B House District 12B

No spending data reported

13A House District 13A
Rockville

Total spending: $38,423.81

Candidates:
  • Jim Read (DFL)
  • Lisa Demuth (R)
13B House District 13B

No spending data reported

15A House District 15A

No spending data reported

32A House District 32A

No spending data reported

34B House District 34B
Maple Grove

Total spending: $270,402.63

Candidates:
  • Kristin Bahner (DFL)
  • Dennis Smith (R) (Incumbent)
40A House District 40A

No spending data reported

40B House District 40B

No spending data reported

41A House District 41A

No spending data reported

41B House District 41B

No spending data reported

42A House District 42A
Shoreview

Total spending: $184,828.24

Candidates:
  • Kelly Moller (DFL)
  • Randy Jessup (R) (Incumbent)
42B House District 42B
Roseville

Total spending: $11,112.07

Candidates:
  • Jamie Becker-Finn (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Yele-Mis Yang (R)
43A House District 43A

No spending data reported

17A House District 17A
Prinsburg

Total spending: $343.07

Candidates:
  • Lyle Koenen (DFL)
  • Tim Miller (R) (Incumbent)
17B House District 17B

No spending data reported

14A House District 14A
St. Cloud

Total spending: $17,444.75

Candidates:
  • Aric Putnam (DFL)
  • Tama Theis (R) (Incumbent)
14B House District 14B
St. Cloud

Total spending: $14,508.43

Candidates:
  • Dan Wolgamott (DFL)
  • Jim Knoblach (R) (Incumbent)
31A House District 31A

No spending data reported

44A House District 44A
Plymouth

Total spending: $303,681.49

Candidates:
  • Ginny Klevorn (DFL)
  • Sarah Anderson (R) (Incumbent)
45A House District 45A

No spending data reported

45B House District 45B

No spending data reported

59A House District 59A

No spending data reported

60A House District 60A

No spending data reported

66A House District 66A

No spending data reported

66B House District 66B

No spending data reported

67A House District 67A

No spending data reported

43B House District 43B

No spending data reported

39B House District 39B
Stillwater

Total spending: $176,375.66

Candidates:
  • Shelly Christensen (DFL)
  • Kathy Lohmer (R) (Incumbent)
16A House District 16A

No spending data reported

18A House District 18A

No spending data reported

29A House District 29A

No spending data reported

29B House District 29B

No spending data reported

44B House District 44B

No spending data reported

46A House District 46A

No spending data reported

59B House District 59B

No spending data reported

60B House District 60B

No spending data reported

64A House District 64A

No spending data reported

65A House District 65A

No spending data reported

67B House District 67B

No spending data reported

53A House District 53A

No spending data reported

16B House District 16B

No spending data reported

18B House District 18B

No spending data reported

47A House District 47A
Waconia

Total spending: $1,000.00

Candidates:
  • Madalynn Gerold (DFL)
  • Jim Nash (R) (Incumbent)
33A House District 33A
Greenfield

Total spending: $1,000.00

Candidates:
  • Norrie Thomas (DFL)
  • Jerry Hertaus (R) (Incumbent)
33B House District 33B
Chanhassen

Total spending: $192,425.86

Candidates:
  • Kelly Morrison (DFL)
  • Cindy Pugh (R) (Incumbent)
46B House District 46B

No spending data reported

61A House District 61A

No spending data reported

62A House District 62A

No spending data reported

63A House District 63A

No spending data reported

65B House District 65B

No spending data reported

53B House District 53B
Woodbury

Total spending: $241,487.61

Candidates:
  • Steve Sandell (DFL)
  • Kelly Fenton (R) (Incumbent)
54B House District 54B
Cottage Grove

Total spending: $160,062.88

Candidates:
  • Tina Folch (DFL)
  • Tony Jurgens (R) (Incumbent)
19A House District 19A
North Mankato

Total spending: $125,732.13

Candidates:
  • Jeff Brand (DFL)
  • Kim Spears (R)
20A House District 20A
Elko New Market

Total spending: $1,000.00

Candidates:
  • Barbara Dröher Kline (DFL)
  • Bob Vogel (R) (Incumbent)
20B House District 20B
Northfield

Total spending: $215,068.05

Candidates:
  • Todd Lippert (DFL)
  • Josh Gare (R)
58B House District 58B
Farmington

Total spending: $1,000.00

Candidates:
  • Marla Vagts (DFL)
  • Patrick Garofalo (R) (Incumbent)
21A House District 21A
Red Wing

Total spending: $22,385.75

Candidates:
  • Lori Ann Clark (DFL)
  • Barb Haley (R) (Incumbent)
21B House District 21B

No spending data reported

48A House District 48A
Minnetonka

Total spending: $24,632.92

Candidates:
  • Laurie Pryor (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Ellen Cousins (R)
49A House District 49A
Edina

Total spending: $32,061.97

Candidates:
  • Heather Edelson (DFL)
  • Dario Anselmo (R) (Incumbent)
61B House District 61B

No spending data reported

62B House District 62B

No spending data reported

63B House District 63B

No spending data reported

64B House District 64B

No spending data reported

52A House District 52A

No spending data reported

54A House District 54A
St. Paul Park

Total spending: $225,579.18

Candidates:
  • Anne Claflin (DFL)
  • Keith Franke (R) (Incumbent)
22B House District 22B

No spending data reported

19B House District 19B

No spending data reported

23B House District 23B
Lake Crystal

Total spending: $64,521.64

Candidates:
  • Jim Grabowska (DFL)
  • Jeremy Munson (R) (Incumbent)
25B House District 25B

No spending data reported

24B House District 24B
Faribault

Total spending: $27,238.50

Candidates:
  • Yvette Marthaler (DFL)
  • Brian Daniels (R) (Incumbent)
25A House District 25A
Byron

Total spending: $13,170.06

Candidates:
  • Jamie Mahlberg (DFL)
  • Duane Quam (R) (Incumbent)
28A House District 28A

No spending data reported

47B House District 47B
Chaska

Total spending: $77,573.45

Candidates:
  • Donzel Leggett (DFL)
  • Greg Boe (R)
48B House District 48B
Eden Prairie

Total spending: $175,218.37

Candidates:
  • Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn (DFL)
  • Jenifer W. Loon (R) (Incumbent)
49B House District 49B

No spending data reported

50A House District 50A

No spending data reported

50B House District 50B

No spending data reported

51A House District 51A

No spending data reported

51B House District 51B

No spending data reported

52B House District 52B
Inver Grove Heights

Total spending: $225,146.95

Candidates:
  • Ruth Richardson (DFL)
  • Regina Barr (R) (Incumbent)
22A House District 22A

No spending data reported

23A House District 23A

No spending data reported

24A House District 24A

No spending data reported

26B House District 26B


Total spending: $15,880.21

Candidates:
  • Tyrel Clark (DFL)
  • Nels T. Pierson (R) (Incumbent)
26A House District 26A

No spending data reported

27A House District 27A
Albert Lea

Total spending: $31,168.15

Candidates:
  • Terry Gjersvik (DFL)
  • Peggy Bennett (R) (Incumbent)
27B House District 27B

No spending data reported

28B House District 28B
Preston

Total spending: $69,525.29

Candidates:
  • Thomas Trehus (DFL)
  • Gregory M. Davids (R) (Incumbent)
55A House District 55A
Shakopee

Total spending: $140,433.25

Candidates:
  • Brad Tabke (DFL)
  • Erik Mortensen (R)
55B House District 55B

No spending data reported

56A House District 56A
Savage

Total spending: $163,180.41

Candidates:
  • Hunter Cantrell (DFL)
  • Drew Christensen (R) (Incumbent)
56B House District 56B
Lakeville

Total spending: $305,389.65

Candidates:
  • Alice Mann (DFL)
  • Roz Peterson (R) (Incumbent)
58A House District 58A


Total spending: $7,224.81

Candidates:
  • Maggie Williams (DFL)
  • John Koznick (R) (Incumbent)
57A House District 57A
Apple Valley

Total spending: $319,443.61

Candidates:
  • Robert Bierman (DFL)
  • Matt Lundin (R)
57B House District 57B
Rosemount

Total spending: $147,637.22

Candidates:
  • John Huot (DFL)
  • Anna Wills (R) (Incumbent)

Legend

  •   Up to $319,443
  •   Up to $255,554
  •   Up to $191,666
  •   Up to $127,777
  •   Up to $63,888
  •   No spending data reported

Outside spending for DFL

Greater MinnesotaMetro
2A House District 2A

No spending data reported

1A House District 1A

No spending data reported

1B House District 1B

No spending data reported

2B House District 2B

No spending data reported

6A House District 6A


Total spending: $1,452.94

Candidates:
  • Julie Sandstede (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Guy Anderson (R)
6B House District 6B
Virginia

Total spending: $2,969.75

Candidates:
  • Dave Lislegard (DFL)
  • Skeeter Tomczak (R)
3B House District 3B


Total spending: $1,452.94

Candidates:
  • Mary Murphy (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Keith MacDonald (R)
3A House District 3A
International Falls

Total spending: $108,474.18

Candidates:
  • Rob Ecklund (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Randy Goutermont (R)
4A House District 4A
Moorhead

Total spending: $431.27

Candidates:
  • Ben Lien (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Jordan Idso (R)
4B House District 4B
Dilworth

Total spending: $28,206.51

Candidates:
  • Paul Marquart (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Jason Peterson (R)
5A House District 5A
Pennington

Total spending: $24,892.38

Candidates:
  • John Persell (DFL)
  • Matt Bliss (R) (Incumbent)
5B House District 5B
Cohasset

Total spending: $163,533.40

Candidates:
  • Pat Medure (DFL)
  • Sandy Layman (R) (Incumbent)
7B House District 7B

No spending data reported

7A House District 7A


Total spending: $984.94

Candidates:
  • Jennifer Schultz (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Dana Krivogorsky (R)
8A House District 8A


Total spending: $313.00

Candidates:
  • Brittney Johnson (DFL)
  • Bud Nornes (R) (Incumbent)
8B House District 8B


Total spending: $313.00

Candidates:
  • Gail Kulp (DFL)
  • Mary Franson (R) (Incumbent)
10A House District 10A

No spending data reported

10B House District 10B

No spending data reported

11A House District 11A

No spending data reported

30A House District 30A

No spending data reported

30B House District 30B

No spending data reported

35A House District 35A


Total spending: $208.44

Candidates:
  • Bill Vikander (DFL)
  • John Heinrich (R)
35B House District 35B


Total spending: $300.35

Candidates:
  • Kathryn Eckhardt (DFL)
  • Peggy Scott (R) (Incumbent)
31B House District 31B

No spending data reported

32B House District 32B

No spending data reported

12A House District 12A

No spending data reported

9A House District 9A

No spending data reported

9B House District 9B
Little Falls

Total spending: $566.78

Candidates:
  • Stephen Browning (DFL)
  • Ron Kresha (R) (Incumbent)
15B House District 15B

No spending data reported

11B House District 11B

No spending data reported

34A House District 34A

No spending data reported

36A House District 36A
Champlin

Total spending: $146,477.83

Candidates:
  • Zack Stephenson (DFL)
  • Bill Maresh (R)
36B House District 36B
Brooklyn Park

Total spending: $2,997.27

Candidates:
  • Melissa Hortman (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Jermain Botsio (R)
37A House District 37A
Spring Lake Park

Total spending: $157,151.36

Candidates:
  • Erin Koegel (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Anthony Wilder (R)
37B House District 37B
Blaine

Total spending: $166,059.83

Candidates:
  • Amir Joseph Malik (DFL)
  • Nolan West (R) (Incumbent)
38A House District 38A

No spending data reported

38B House District 38B
Dellwood

Total spending: $82,312.16

Candidates:
  • Ami Wazlawik (DFL)
  • Patti Anderson (R)
39A House District 39A
Forest Lake

Total spending: $1,175.06

Candidates:
  • Ann Mozey (DFL)
  • Bob Dettmer (R) (Incumbent)
12B House District 12B

No spending data reported

13A House District 13A

No spending data reported

13B House District 13B

No spending data reported

15A House District 15A

No spending data reported

32A House District 32A

No spending data reported

34B House District 34B
Maple Grove

Total spending: $235,783.14

Candidates:
  • Kristin Bahner (DFL)
  • Dennis Smith (R) (Incumbent)
40A House District 40A

No spending data reported

40B House District 40B

No spending data reported

41A House District 41A

No spending data reported

41B House District 41B

No spending data reported

42A House District 42A
Shoreview

Total spending: $192,161.44

Candidates:
  • Kelly Moller (DFL)
  • Randy Jessup (R) (Incumbent)
42B House District 42B

No spending data reported

43A House District 43A

No spending data reported

17A House District 17A

No spending data reported

17B House District 17B

No spending data reported

14A House District 14A
St. Cloud

Total spending: $2,614.67

Candidates:
  • Aric Putnam (DFL)
  • Tama Theis (R) (Incumbent)
14B House District 14B
St. Cloud

Total spending: $38,510.00

Candidates:
  • Dan Wolgamott (DFL)
  • Jim Knoblach (R) (Incumbent)
31A House District 31A

No spending data reported

44A House District 44A
Plymouth

Total spending: $255,254.02

Candidates:
  • Ginny Klevorn (DFL)
  • Sarah Anderson (R) (Incumbent)
45A House District 45A


Total spending: $410.94

Candidates:
  • Lyndon R. Carlson (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Reid Johnson (R)
45B House District 45B

No spending data reported

59A House District 59A

No spending data reported

60A House District 60A

No spending data reported

66A House District 66A

No spending data reported

66B House District 66B

No spending data reported

67A House District 67A

No spending data reported

43B House District 43B

No spending data reported

39B House District 39B
Stillwater

Total spending: $115,969.26

Candidates:
  • Shelly Christensen (DFL)
  • Kathy Lohmer (R) (Incumbent)
16A House District 16A

No spending data reported

18A House District 18A

No spending data reported

29A House District 29A

No spending data reported

29B House District 29B

No spending data reported

44B House District 44B

No spending data reported

46A House District 46A

No spending data reported

59B House District 59B

No spending data reported

60B House District 60B
Minneapolis

Total spending: $1,308.30

Candidates:
  • Mohamud Noor (DFL)
  • Joseph Patiño (R)
64A House District 64A

No spending data reported

65A House District 65A

No spending data reported

67B House District 67B

No spending data reported

53A House District 53A


Total spending: $86.50

Candidates:
  • Tou Xiong (DFL)
  • Andy Turonie (R)
16B House District 16B

No spending data reported

18B House District 18B

No spending data reported

47A House District 47A

No spending data reported

33A House District 33A

No spending data reported

33B House District 33B
Chanhassen

Total spending: $52,798.58

Candidates:
  • Kelly Morrison (DFL)
  • Cindy Pugh (R) (Incumbent)
46B House District 46B


Total spending: $92.27

Candidates:
  • Cheryl Youakim (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Melissa Moore (R)
61A House District 61A

No spending data reported

62A House District 62A

No spending data reported

63A House District 63A

No spending data reported

65B House District 65B

No spending data reported

53B House District 53B
Woodbury

Total spending: $150,940.99

Candidates:
  • Steve Sandell (DFL)
  • Kelly Fenton (R) (Incumbent)
54B House District 54B
Cottage Grove

Total spending: $35,216.03

Candidates:
  • Tina Folch (DFL)
  • Tony Jurgens (R) (Incumbent)
19A House District 19A
North Mankato

Total spending: $185,343.05

Candidates:
  • Jeff Brand (DFL)
  • Kim Spears (R)
20A House District 20A

No spending data reported

20B House District 20B
Northfield

Total spending: $61,934.37

Candidates:
  • Todd Lippert (DFL)
  • Josh Gare (R)
58B House District 58B

No spending data reported

21A House District 21A
Red Wing

Total spending: $2,162.73

Candidates:
  • Lori Ann Clark (DFL)
  • Barb Haley (R) (Incumbent)
21B House District 21B

No spending data reported

48A House District 48A
Minnetonka

Total spending: $66,285.67

Candidates:
  • Laurie Pryor (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Ellen Cousins (R)
49A House District 49A
Edina

Total spending: $122,004.39

Candidates:
  • Heather Edelson (DFL)
  • Dario Anselmo (R) (Incumbent)
61B House District 61B

No spending data reported

62B House District 62B

No spending data reported

63B House District 63B

No spending data reported

64B House District 64B

No spending data reported

52A House District 52A

No spending data reported

54A House District 54A
St. Paul Park

Total spending: $197,630.72

Candidates:
  • Anne Claflin (DFL)
  • Keith Franke (R) (Incumbent)
22B House District 22B
Mountain Lake

Total spending: $450.66

Candidates:
  • Cheniqua Johnson (DFL)
  • Rod Hamilton (R) (Incumbent)
19B House District 19B


Total spending: $741.94

Candidates:
  • Jack Considine (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Joe Steck (R)
23B House District 23B
Lake Crystal

Total spending: $17,122.04

Candidates:
  • Jim Grabowska (DFL)
  • Jeremy Munson (R) (Incumbent)
25B House District 25B
Rochester

Total spending: $32,348.65

Candidates:
  • Duane Sauke (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Kenneth L. Bush (R)
24B House District 24B
Faribault

Total spending: $908.14

Candidates:
  • Yvette Marthaler (DFL)
  • Brian Daniels (R) (Incumbent)
25A House District 25A
Byron

Total spending: $1,164.94

Candidates:
  • Jamie Mahlberg (DFL)
  • Duane Quam (R) (Incumbent)
28A House District 28A

No spending data reported

47B House District 47B

No spending data reported

48B House District 48B
Eden Prairie

Total spending: $218,009.90

Candidates:
  • Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn (DFL)
  • Jenifer W. Loon (R) (Incumbent)
49B House District 49B
Edina

Total spending: $2,165.23

Candidates:
  • Steve Elkins (DFL)
  • Matt Sikich (R)
50A House District 50A

No spending data reported

50B House District 50B

No spending data reported

51A House District 51A
Eagan

Total spending: $386.02

Candidates:
  • Sandra Masin (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Jim Kiner (R)
51B House District 51B
Eagan

Total spending: $418.24

Candidates:
  • Laurie Halverson (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Douglas D. Willetts (R)
52B House District 52B
Inver Grove Heights

Total spending: $214,510.05

Candidates:
  • Ruth Richardson (DFL)
  • Regina Barr (R) (Incumbent)
22A House District 22A

No spending data reported

23A House District 23A

No spending data reported

24A House District 24A

No spending data reported

26B House District 26B

No spending data reported

26A House District 26A

No spending data reported

27A House District 27A
Albert Lea

Total spending: $2,091.30

Candidates:
  • Terry Gjersvik (DFL)
  • Peggy Bennett (R) (Incumbent)
27B House District 27B
Austin

Total spending: $15,057.54

Candidates:
  • Jeanne Poppe (DFL) (Incumbent)
  • Christine Green (R)
28B House District 28B
Preston

Total spending: $2,635.93

Candidates:
  • Thomas Trehus (DFL)
  • Gregory M. Davids (R) (Incumbent)
55A House District 55A
Shakopee

Total spending: $3,165.21

Candidates:
  • Brad Tabke (DFL)
  • Erik Mortensen (R)
55B House District 55B

No spending data reported

56A House District 56A
Savage

Total spending: $191,870.80

Candidates:
  • Hunter Cantrell (DFL)
  • Drew Christensen (R) (Incumbent)
56B House District 56B
Lakeville

Total spending: $203,084.43

Candidates:
  • Alice Mann (DFL)
  • Roz Peterson (R) (Incumbent)
58A House District 58A

No spending data reported

57A House District 57A
Apple Valley

Total spending: $140,040.62

Candidates:
  • Robert Bierman (DFL)
  • Matt Lundin (R)
57B House District 57B
Rosemount

Total spending: $137,821.71

Candidates:
  • John Huot (DFL)
  • Anna Wills (R) (Incumbent)

Legend

  •   Up to $255,254
  •   Up to $204,203
  •   Up to $153,152
  •   Up to $102,101
  •   Up to $51,050
  •   No spending data reported

The most expensive House race was for 44A, the suburban Plymouth seat that saw DFLer Ginny Klevorn unseat Sarah Anderson, a longtime state rep who had withstood tough elections for Republicans in the past.

Outside groups spent more than half a million in the race: $304,000 to help Anderson  and $255,000 to help Klevorn.

Not far behind and with similar dynamics was the race in 56B between Republican incumbent Roz Peterson and DFLer Alice Mann. Outside groups spent $305,000 to help Peterson and $204,000 to help Mann.

Eight other suburban districts round out the top 10 spending in terms of outside money.

The Senate special

Democrats outspent Republicans by two-to-one in the high-stakes Election Day special election in Senate District 13. The seat was vacated by Michelle Fischbach when she became lieutenant governor, leaving each party with 33 members in the Senate. Republican Jeff Howe won big there, leading DFLer Joe Perske by a 15-point margin, keeping the Senate in Republican hands.

Outside spending in the Senate District 13 special election
Source: Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board

The big spenders

As is often the case, the DFL-allied Alliance for a Better Minnesota Action Fund was the biggest source of independent expenditures in the election, with nearly $8.5 million spent across races.

Top 10 outside expenditure groups by total spent in election
Note: Minnesota Jobs Coalition, a major spender in favor of Republicans, has not yet filed its 2018 year-end report, so its spending total is likely much higher.
Source: Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board

Democrats, who typically funnel a larger share of outside spending though party-affiliated committees, spent considerable amounts through its DFL State Central Committee and other party-aligned groups.

Minnesota’s Republican Party relies less on party-affiliated groups (though its House Republican Campaign Committee was one of the big spenders this time around), and more on non-party-affiliated outside spending groups, such as the Minnesota Jobs Coalition (again, yet to file its year-end report), and the Freedom Club State PAC.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/04/2019 - 01:07 pm.

    Having suffered through hundreds of political spots on TV during the 2018 campaign, as did most Minnesotans outside a political campaign organization, one idle thought I’ve had is; how much money did local TV stations make from those ads? Of increasing importance, since I encountered those ads online as well, is there a way to track campaign spending on the web? Lacking any real evidence at this point, it nonetheless occurs to me that quite a few campaigns, especially for statewide office, might have spent substantial portions of the campaign funds on electronic media, as opposed to old-fashioned mailers, flyers, and/or ads in the ‘Strib or Pioneer Press.

    As long as money is legally equated with speech, and is therefore largely immune from regulation, perhaps statutory limits on campaign lengths might be worth looking into. I’d certainly favor that at the national level, where the 2020 election is already in play. There are European countries with political systems at least as functional as (or, if you like, no more dysfunctional than) ours wherein national political campaigns face strict regulation about where and for how long campaigning can take place.

  2. Submitted by David Markle on 02/04/2019 - 02:16 pm.

    Good idea, Ray!

  3. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 02/05/2019 - 08:02 am.

    Interesting spin on headlines…

    Pioneer press – -” Minnesota Democrats way outspent Republicans during the elections. Here are some numbers.”

    Just maybe if the GOP had outspent the DFL in a huge way – and won- maybe the headline would have to do with installing “campaign finance reform” or the “evils of big money” in politics.

  4. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 02/05/2019 - 10:08 am.

    What happens if somebody campaigns out of season? Will somebody call the cops?

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