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Gov. Mark Dayton, in his first significant attempt to gather campaign cash from other people, has raised more than $1 million in his bid for re-election.
According to his campaign, Dayton raised $1.1 million in 2013 and has $800,000 cash on hand, according to his campaign manager Katharine Tinucci.
That could set the stage for high-buck spending in what so far has been a low-profile gubernatorial race. Already a host of outside groups are ramping up to sway voters in this year’s election, and Dayton’s Republican rivals are fundraising to oust the DFLer from office.
Dayton, who has largely self-financed his previous campaigns, had said earlier that this time he would rely on fundraising, like other candidates. Tinucci said that Dayton’s 2013 haul includes no personal funds.
Dayton’s figures top those of the two leading GOP candidates combined and is about $200,000 more than former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty raised for his re-election campaign the year before he won a second term.
Among Republican candidates for governor, former House Speaker Kurt Zellers and businessman Scott Honour have topped the charts. According to self-reported figures, Honour raised more than $500,000 from donors and Zellers raised about $400,000 for his campaign. Honour may have additionally loaned his campaign some funds.
Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson said he raised more than $240,000. Former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert brought in more than $150,000 and state Sen. Dave Thompson netted about $120,000.
All told, the five Republican rivals brought in about $1.4 million for their campaigns. Unlike Dayton, they still have intraparty endorsing and/or primary fights to wade through before they can reach November voters. The detailed campaign finance reports are due to the state’s campaign finance agency by the end of the week.
As an incumbent, Dayton has the DFL field to himself and is already picking up union endorsements that will assist him as he seeks to return to the chief executive spot.
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Nurses Association endorsed him for a second term. That union endorsement joins those of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, Education Minnesota, the American Federation State, County and Municipal Employees and Minnesota Association of Professional Employees. Unions have contributed tens of millions of dollars to Minnesota campaign efforts since 2007.