Bradley Sanford, a Republican candidate for the Senate in the northwest suburbs, declared personal bankruptcy in 2014, federal filings show.

The bankruptcy could clash with Sanford’s campaign theme that he is a competent businessman: “(Sanford’s)' education and leadership helped him become a staple in the financial world of Minnesota,” his campaign website reads.

The bankruptcy filing, reported first here, shows liabilities of more than $17,000. Sanford’s assets at the time were just $750 -- attributed entirely to “household goods and furnishings.” He reported earning about $80,000 per year before taxes.

Sanford did not return calls.

The open Senate seat -- left vacant by DFL Sen. Alice Johnson’s retirement -- was thought to be a competitive pickup opportunity for Republicans.

Sanford’s DFL opponent is Rep. Jerry Newton, who currently represents half of District 37 in the House. The other House seat is currently held by a Republican.

Republicans need to flip six Senate seats to take the majority from the DFL.

The bankruptcy isn’t the first challenge for Sanford’s campaign, however.

Minnesota Public Radio previously reported another financial problem -- he was served with a September judgment in which he owes more than $44,000 in back child support stemming from a 2009 divorce.

"I contested it because I didn't agree with the dollar amount,” he told MPR at the time. “But at the end of the day I have always made my payments and will continue to make these payments," he said.

A series of new legislative candidates have struggled with revelations about their backgrounds.

A House GOP candidate -- also in the northwest Metro suburbs -- was discovered to have Facebook posts that sympathized with the Confederacy. And, a judge ruled in a 1980s divorce case that a DFL House candidate in a competitive northern Minnesota district had battered his ex-wife.

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