The Minnesota Jobs Coalition, a Republican leaning group, has raised $755,000 in the past 10 days from a national Republican group and local business allies, all in an effort to help the House GOP keep their majority status.
The Republican State Leadership Committee, a D.C. based group that helps Republicans in legislative races around the country, has donated $400,000 to the Jobs Coalition since late October. The group is backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and major companies from the tobacco, insurance and pharmaceutical industries, as well as companies like Wal-Mart and Koch Industries, according to IRS data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The money has helped fund a major broadcast TV buy of more than $500,000 for an ad running statewide that attacks the DFL for changes to the health insurance market instituted under Gov. Mark Dayton and a DFL Legislature.
House Republicans need to keep the DFL from flipping seven seats if they are to retain their majority.
The Jobs Coalition, whose former chairman is now a senior aide to House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, also raised big money from local groups. The political arm of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce gave $150,000 in recent days, while the campaign fund of the Minnesota Business Partnership gave $175,000. The latter group includes the state’s biggest companies, like Cargill and U.S. Bank.
Charlie Weaver, the executive director of the Business Partnership, said business groups had studied the other side for clues after being defeated by DFL-leaning groups that work together effectively.
“We’ve learned from the Alliance for a Better Minnesota to set aside egos and collaborate,” he said, referring to the DFL leaning group that raises millions from labor unions and wealthy individuals and is credited with pushing the state into the blue column in recent years.
Business groups are mobilizing hard against an all-DFL state government, which they fear would lead to onerous regulations and higher taxes. If DFLers take the House majority, they would likely pursue universal prekindergarten, a higher minimum wage and other mandatory employee benefits like paid sick time.