In targeted U.S. House races, Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline was the big money draw, according to campaign finance reports made public on Monday.
Kline, who has been increasingly in Democrats’ spotlight since Bachmann is no longer a 2014 factor, banked a record $1.1 million to defend his south suburban congressional seat and raised $482,000 in the last three months alone.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a quarter of his campaign cash came from the political action committees run by the for-profit universities and top regulators his committee oversees. His campaign had no comment to share on the donations.
Kline has about 10 times the cash in the bank as has Democrat Mike Obermueller and about 200 times as much as Republican David Gerson. Both Obermueller and Gerson, who seeded their campaigns with the loans from themselves, challenged Kline last year and plan to do so again next year. Democrat Tom Craft, who entered the race last week, has yet to be required to report any campaign cash figures.
Over in western Minnesota's Seventh Congressional District, longtime U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson reported bringing in about $93,000 in the last three months. Peterson, one of the few Democrats in a district won by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney making him an attractive target for take down, sits nearly $300,000 for his campaign and has yet to draw a GOP challenger. He has easily batted away past Republicans who tried to take him on.
Like Kline, he has benefited from contributions from PACs interested in his committee work. Peterson, the former chair and now ranking minority member of the House Agriculture Committee, has received about a third of his $281,000 in total contributions from individuals so far this year. The rest of his cash has come from political committees, including players like the National Cotton Council and the Rain and Hail Insurance Council.
Over in the Sixth Congressional District, where Republicans are battling for the chance to replace U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, the big money story belongs to 2010 gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. He reported raising $225,000 since last month when he jumped into the race. About a third of that cash can only be used if he makes it to a general election campaign.
Many of Minnesota’s big GOP funders are among his initial donors. Bill and Tani Austin, Bob and Joan Cummins and Stan Hubbard, of Hubbard Broadcasting, all gave to Emmer's new congressional campaign. Emmer’s campaign has also hired Civis Communications, a strategy and voter identification firm started by Cummins, to help with his campaign. As of the end of June, the campaign owed Civis $12,000 for fundraising consulting. Campaign advisor David FitzSimmons, a state lawmaker from Albertville, said the debt was simply a matter of timing. The invoice came it right near the end of the filing period and will be paid by the next report, FitzSimmons said.
The two other Republicans vying for the Bachmann seat have raised far less. State Sen. John Pederson, of St. Cloud, reported bringing in $35,050 during the few weeks he was in the race and Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah brought in $19,000 in the last week in June.