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Fundraising has posed a challenge for Minneapolis mayoral candidates, given low contribution limits and the large field of contenders.
Council Member Don Samuels said the $500 limit on how much people can contribute to the campaign “makes fundraising very, very slow. … If I had my druthers, I’d just go out, meet people, hear what the issues are and never have to raise a penny.”
He said that disclosure is important but that “I do think it’s possible to get obsessive on that, and shift the focus from the issues to the money … everything is [then] judged not by the quality of the candidate, but by the pocketbook of the candidate.”
Mark Andrew, a former Hennepin County commissioner, is expected to receive many campaign contributions from members of labor unions that have lined up to endorse him. He’s also receiving a big fundraising push from Sam and Sylvia Kaplan, a prominent couple in DFL politics who helped elect Mayor R.T. Rybak. Andrew reached out to the arts community in a smaller fundraiser last week.
Council Member Betsy Hodges has received support from groups that back female candidates who support abortion rights, such as Emily’s List and womenwinning, and Council Member Gary Schiff and state Sen. Scott Dibble have contributed and raised money on her behalf. She had a fundraiser hosted in recent weeks hosted by Minneapolis developer George Sherman, who also held a fundraiser Tuesday for Jackie Cherryhomes, a former council president.
The last time some of the candidates filed any report showing what they raised and spent was in January, when they revealed their financials for the previous year.
“The current system creates a data dump on Sept. 3, where those insider candidates hope that nobody notices the various contributions they got from [those with] business before the city, and it puts a tough burden on watchdogs to go through all of that data …” said Cam Winton, a wind energy attorney running as an independent. “It’d be better if the disclosures were more frequent and sooner in the campaign season — that way there would be more transparency.”
Maya Rao • 612-673-4210
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