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

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota campaigns, National campaigns, Republicans Updated: January 20, 2014 - 6:27 PM

Over the course of last two years, the Minnesota Republican Party has reduced its debt from nearly $2 million to just under $1.2 million, 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 it is clear the GOP is now on the rebound.

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

Party treasurer Bron Scherer said that at the height of the party's financial rebuilding in 2012, it was paying about between $80,000 and $100,000 a month in debt payments. This year, its debt payments will be more easily manageable figures -- between $25,000 and $30,000 a month.

Downey said that the debt payments this year will be somewhere between 10 to 20 percent of the monthly budget.

Since 2011, when the full debt became clear, the party negotiated payment plans with the vendors it owes and taken on debt from the 2010 gubernatorial recount.

This year, the party moved its headquarters from downtown St. Paul, near the state Capitol, to Minneapolis. During the bleak times, the party had fallen $111,000 behind on its $16,000-a-month rent. In 2012, it was threatened with eviction. The rent at the party's new headquarters, in Minneapolis' Seward neighborhood, will be about a third less than it had been paying before.

Scherer said the party had not yet filed either its federal or state reports so the official summary information was not available. Those are due in a few weeks.

The Republican party said in a news release that it had raised $2.5 million total 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.

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

Correction: This post has been corrected to reflect that the party's new rent will be a third less than it had been before.

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