Minnesota Republican Party 'better positioned'; now $1.2 million in debt

The party is on the rebound after moving to much less expensive digs and repaying $800,000 of $2M owed.

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Keith Downey

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The Minnesota Republican Party has reduced its once-mountainous debt from nearly $2 million to just under $1.2 million in the past two years, party officials said Monday.

The reduction comes after years of turmoil, election losses in 2012 and shrinking faith from donors. Party Chairman Keith Downey said the GOP is now clearly on the rebound.

“We made good progress on many fronts this year, including financially,” he said. “We still have plenty to do, but we are much better positioned for the future.”

Bron Scherer, party ­treasurer, said that at the height of the party’s financial rebuilding in 2012, it was paying between $80,000 and $100,000 a month on debt alone. This year, its debt payments will be more manageable: between $25,000 and $30,000 a month.

Since 2011, when the full extent of the debt became clear, the party negotiated payment plans with the vendors it owed and took on debt from the 2010 gubernatorial recount.

As part of a fiscal retrenching, the party this year moved its headquarters from a building across from the State Capitol, to Minneapolis’ Seward neighborhood. At its low point, the party had fallen $111,000 behind on its $16,000-a-month rent and in 2012 was threatened with eviction. Rent on its new space in Seward will be about one-third less than what the party had been paying.

Scherer said the party had not yet filed either its federal or state reports, so no official summary information was available. The reports are due in a few weeks.

The Republican Party said in a news release that it had raised $2.5 million in 2013.

According to a federal campaign finance report filed late last year, the party had raised $1.4 million and had just over $5,000 cash on hand in its ­federal account. It had $713,000 in federal debt at that point.

The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party had raised $1 million and had $173,000 cash on hand at the end of November in its federal account. It had $50,000 in federal debt.

 

Rachel E. Stassen-Berger • Twitter: @RachelSB

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