More than 18 months ahead of Election Day 2014, Minnesota’s congressional candidates have filed their first campaign finance reports of the election cycle and they’ve raised more than $4.2 million combined.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken leads the pack, having raised $1.985 million in the first quarter of 2012. With the strong showing, Franken now has $2.03 million banked for his re-election bid and, so far, no Republican challenger.
Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann raised the most of any Minnesota House member, bringing in $679,522. The nearly $1.9 million she has banked for her re-election campaign is also tops among Minnesota House members. Bachmann also has $128,000 in remaining debt from the last election cycle.
Bachmann's opponent in the Sixth Congressional District race, Democratic businessman Jim Graves, is starting out the race at a financial disadvantage, having raised just $1,968 in the first quarter of year.
The multi-millionaire hotelier has $25,590 cash on hand and $261,000 in debt from his 2012 campaign, which he largely self-funded. He has not made a decision on self-funding for 2014, but by announcing his candidacy this early in the election cycle he hopes to attract more grassroots donors, his campaign manager said.
Two people that have not ruled out running against Franken, Republican U.S. Reps. Erik Paulsen and John Kline, had strong fundraising quarters and have healthy campaign stockpiles.
Paulsen, who represents the state’s Third Congressional District, raised $359,000 during the first quarter of 2013 and has $941,341 banked. No Democrats or Republicans have announced plans to challenge Paulsen.
Kline, the chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, raised $257,600 and has $750,000 cash on hand. Thus far, he has a significant fundraising lead over three candidates who plan to challenge him in the state’s Second Congressional District.
Democrat Mike Obermueller, who lost to Kline in November, raised $660 and has $5,500 cash on hand. But he’s also saddled with more than $32,000 in debt from his last campaign.
The campaign finance report for Sona Mehring, Kline’s other Democratic challenger, was not immediately available.
David Gerson, who plans to run against Kline in the Republican primary next year, donated about $6,500 to his campaign and has less than $5,000 cash on hand.
Minnesota’s five remaining U.S. House members, all Democrats, do not have challengers thus far, but each raised more than $100,000 during the first quarter of the year.
In the state’s First District, U.S. Rep. Tim Walz raised slightly more than $100,000 and has $86,000 banked for his re-election bid.
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, who represents the Fourth District, raised $101,000 and has almost $63,000 cash on hand.
Fifth District U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison raised $185,600 and has almost $87,000 cash on hand.
In the Seventh District, U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson raised almost $165,000 and has $160,000 cash on hand. The National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of House Republicans, is targeting Peterson’s western Minnesota seat, which is Republican-leaning.
Eighth District U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan raised $120,600 and has $119,000 banked for his re-election bid. The race drew millions in outside money last year, when Nolan ousted incumbent Republican Chip Cravaack.
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The DFLer said he was encouraged to run.