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The cash contest: Race for governor

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota governor, Gov. Mark Dayton, Democrats, Republicans Updated: June 17, 2014 - 1:42 PM

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, who has a nearly straight shot to the November ballot, is dominating his GOP rivals in the collection of cash.

Dayton still has nearly double what the quartet of Republicans running against him have sitting in the bank in total.

But, with personal loans included, Republican candidate Scott Honour has raised more cash, according to the latest disclosures.

All told, Dayton's four main Republican challengers -- Honour, former House Speaker Kurt Zellers, former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson -- have raised and spent more than twice what the sitting governor has brought in.

Dayton's campaign prepared an excuse for lackluster fundraising between the first of the year and the end of May.

"It should be noted that the short reporting period was primarily taken up by the legislative session that ended in late May," the campaign said in a memo. "However, with more cash on hand than any of our opponents and no serious primary challengers, the Mark Dayton for a Better Minnesota campaign is in a strong position heading into the summer, and we are confident that we will have the resources needed to run a winning campaign."

The governor, heir to the Dayton's department store fortune, has had a long career in politics but is a newcomer to political fundraising. He has largely self-funded his previous campaigns and still carries nearly $4 million in debt from his 2010 campaign for governor.

He plans to fundraise from others for this campaign and has agreed to abide by spending limits, in order to get a public subsidy for the 2014 contest.

Republican Johnson has raised the least among the men who would be governor and has the least in the bank.

But his campaign said after winning the Republican Party's endorsement the last weekend in May, the money had started rolling in.

"We have raised over $90,000 in just two weeks, and the rate of fundraising increases daily.  We are on pace to meet our fundraising goals and I am confident we will have the resources to deliver Jeff’s message of effective common sense government,” said campaign manager Scot Crockett.

Johnson said earlier this month that he expected he would need to raise about $1 million before the August primary when he will face off against the other Republicans.

Zellers has raised more — $543,000 since getting the race last year— but spent it nearly as quickly. His largest expenses include lists, mailings and databases.

Among the Republicans, Seifert and Honour had the most left in the bank at the end of May. Seifert, a former longtime state House member from Marshall, had about $100,000 and Honour, a Wayzata businessman, had $227,000.

"In the two weeks since I've joined Scott, I've seen tremendous enthusiasm from grassroots activists and donors. We're building the momentum needed to win the primary and defeat Gov. Dayton," state Sen. Karin Housley, a Republican from St. Mary's Point and Honour's running mate, said.

Updated

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