Money is pouring into Minnesota races for state and federal offices


Millions of dollars in political donations are already flowing to high-stakes campaigns for state and federal offices.

Why is this important: Winning a campaign takes a lot of money, and big fundraisers, including those flagged in year-end documents due this week, can signal a competitive candidate or contest.

Yes, but: Outside political groups able to raise and spend unlimited sums can end up having even greater influence over the outcome of a race.

Example : The chart above shows the shift from candidate spending to independent spending committee spending over the past decade of state-level races here in Minnesota.

State of play: We won’t know how much independent groups are spending until after the election. But here’s a look at some notable nuggets from recent repositories:

DFL Secretary of State Steve Simon’s big shot gives him a big advantage over his GOP rivals, though Republicans Kim Crockett and Kelly Jahner-Byrne start the year in better financial shape than former GOP candidates.

  • The big picture: Races for secretaries of state across the country are expected to attract record sums, with both parties emphasizing election issues.

A $100,000 personal loan helped GOP Attorney General Dennis Smith end the year on par with DFL incumbent Keith Ellison. The two ended the year with around $240,000 in the bank. Doug Wardlow, the 2018 GOP nominee, raised nearly $270,000 but only had $25,000 in cash.

  • What to watch: Smith said he would enter the primary regardless of the winner in a crowded approval battle.

US DFL Rep. Angie Craig, who is running for re-election in what is expected to be one of the most competitive districts in the state in November, received more than double in cash, compared to her GOP rival , Tyler Kistner.

  • The two-term DFL holder had almost $3 million to spend, while Kistner, who also ran in 2018, had $170,000.

As we reported last month, Longtime main challenger to DFL representative Betty McCollum, Amane Badhasso, has raised more than $300,000 in the first few months of her campaign.

  • McCollum, chair of a powerful Defense Appropriations Committee, still outscored her Democratic colleague by half a million dollars.

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