DFL challenger raised more money than incumbent Rep. Chip Cravaack between July and September as money poured into northern Minnesota's fiercely contested eighth district race.
The Nolan for Congress campaign announced Friday that it raised $484,663 in the third quarter, topping the $471,183 the Cravaack campaign announced Thursday.
The incumbent still holds a significant fundraising advantage. Cravaack ended September with $1.1 million in cash on hand, compared to Nolan's $464,824. The Nolan campaign noted that it picked up contributions from 2,604 new donors since the August primary.
“The momentum continues to build for Rick Nolan,” Nolan campaign manager Michael Misterek said in a statement. “Rick Nolan is leading in the polls and receiving record contributions because voters know the only way we can get the country back on track is to grow the economy from the middle out, not the top down. As we enter the final weeks of the campaign, it’s clear that voters are rejecting Chip Cravaack’s Tea Party agenda and his unwavering support of the Ryan plan to privatize Medicare and give more tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires.”
Outside interest groups have thrown more than $4 million into the eighth district race already and the donations are likely to increase in the final weeks.
Recent polls show the two candidates tied in a statistical dead heat.
In response, to the Nolan announcement, Cravaack campaign adviser Ben Golnik said: "Yesterday, the Cravaack for Congress campaign announced its strongest fundraising quarter to date, over $471,000. This cycle, the campaign has raised nearly $2 million and ended the third quarter with $1.1 million in the bank. Despite millions of dollars of misleading and false attack ads from outside groups, Chip Cravaack will continue to communicate his positive pro-growth message to bring more jobs back to the 8th District."
U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack raised almost half a million dollars for his reelection campaign between July and September, his campaign announced Thursday.
Cravaack, a freshman Republican, is being challenged by former Democratic congressman Rick Nolan in one of the most closely-watched, and most expensive, House races in the country. Recent polls show Cravaack and Nolan in a virtual dead heat in the traditionally Democratic eighth district.
Next week is the Federal Election Commission filing deadline, but the Cravaack campaign put out an early press release to announce that it raised $471,183 in the third quarter. The latest report is not yet available online. So far this season, Cravaack has raised $1.9 million and the campaign says it had $1.13 million in cash on hand as of Sept. 30.
That money doesn't count the more than $4 million that has flowed into the district from the outside interest groups with a stake in the outcome of the campaign. The Nolan campaign, which has not yet released its latest campaign numbers, has trailed Cravaack in direct fundraising so far this year, although it has benefitted from more support from outside interest groups.
"I’m pleased to announce our strongest fundraising quarter to date," Cravaack said in a statement. "While our common-sense, bipartisan commitment to job creation continues to resonate with Democrats, Republicans, and independents, I will continue fighting to create a more conducive environment for Minnesota’s economic growth. Right now, we have a burdensome tax code and overbearing regulation putting the brakes on mining jobs and small business. It’s time that Washington gets out of the way, so that our twenty-first century Minnesota economy can move forward."
A Survey USA/KSTP poll taken this week shows Nolan leading Cravaack by a margin of 46 percent to 45 percent, with a margin of error of 4.2 percent. An internal Nolan campaign poll showed Nolan leading Cravaack by a slightly wider margin of 48 to 44 percent. A Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poll showed the candidates tied 42 percent to 42 percent, with a margin of error of 4.9 percent.
U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack and former U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan met on a Duluth debate stage Tuesday morning to offer the voters of the Eighth District a sharp contrast.
Cravaack, the Republican incumbent trying to hold on to a traditionally Democratic district, cast himself as the fiscal conservative in the race; working to help the miners and struggling businesses in his district, but unwilling to back spending programs that push the country closer to the "fiscal cliff." He slammed the federal healthcare reforms and called for reform of the nation's "overbearing tax code."
Nolan, hoping to return to Congress again to represent northern Minnesota as he did for three terms in the 70s and early 80s, painted the incumbent as out of touch with his district, and willing to spend big money on "wars of choice" overseas, but balking at infrastructure and stimulus spending that could help his district. Nolan also unabashedly called for universal healthcare for Americans and insisted that environmental regulations not only save forests, but create jobs.
Unlike two years ago, when the raucus Duluth debate crowd overshadowed the politicians onstage, Tuesday's debate was polite and governed by groundrules that included "no noisemakers in the auditorium."
Dozens of Nolan supporters crowded the sidewalks outside the Duluth Playhouse, waving signs with messages like "Where were you when Georgia Pacific closed?"
Dozens of Cravaack supporters, meanwhile, entered the auditorium early to secure the seats closest to the stage.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is slamming U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack for footage from his first television campaign commercial, which shows him and his family at the Lindstrom house they sold when his wife and two sons relocated to the East Coast last year.
"Who does Congressman Cravaack think he's fooling? Any Minnesota resident knows the truth -- Congressman Cravaack sold his house to move to New Hampshire, but now he's pretending he still lives there in his first re-election TV ad," said Haley Morris of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a group that works to elect Democrats to the U.S. House.
"Congressman Chip Cravaack can keep trying to avoid tough questions, but middle class families know that Minnesota has never been Congressman Cravaack's top priority."
Residency questions from state and national Democrats have dogged Cravaack ever since he announced that his wife and two sons were moving out of the Eighth District. His wife, a pharmaceutical executive, earned a job promotion to Boston that necessitated the move, he said. When his family left Minnesota, Cravaack bought another home in the district, in North Branch.
Ben Golnik, a spokesman for the Cravaack campaign, said candidates often recycle footage to save money on campaign commericals. Golnik said the ad, "Fourth Grade," is no longer in rotation.
"While Washington, D.C., critics continue their desperate attacks on inconsequential issues like two-year-old b-roll footage, Chip Cravaack will continue to focus on the important issues facing the 8th District and the country: skyrocketing debt, stagnant economy and high unemployment," Golnik said.
Former Democratic Congressman Rick Nolan is challenging Cravaack in the 8th District, which is expected to be one of the most competitive U.S. House races in the country.
Here's a look at the ad, which shows Cravaack and his family on the front porch of the home and frolicking against a woodsy backdrop:
Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District attracted $1.75 million in ad spending in September, landing it in fifth place in the nation.
According to a study from the Wesleyan Media Project, the race between Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack and Democratic challenger Rick Nolan garnered 2,168 ads in the last three weeks of September.
See the chart below for more detail: