Donor reports show who's watching Senate race

  • Article by: KEVIN DIAZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 16, 2009 - 9:26 PM

Some heavy-hitters have helped support the rancorous battle for the U.S. Senate seat, and their generosity and their names are all part of a federal election report.

The Senate recount battle between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman has attracted a national following, judging from the high-bucks list of donors in their most recent federal elections reports.

As expected, both candidates received substantial support from their national party leaders, as they spent roughly $6 million apiece on the recount and election trial.

Fundraising reports covering the past three months also read like a Who's Who of the corporate, media and legal industries, in Minnesota and across the nation.

On Franken's side, the list includes actors Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd ($12,300 apiece), author John Grisham ($10,000), comedians Steve Martin and Jason Alexander ($2,500 and $5,000 respectively), composer Burt Bacharach ($300), and tennis star John McEnroe ($2,000).

Coleman's big hitters don't have the same star power, but they have pockets as deep: billboard mogul Robert Naegele ($10,000); Las Vegas Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson ($10,000); Best Buy CEO Bradbury Anderson ($5,000); Travelers Companies chief financial officer Jay Benet ($500) and a host of other top Travelers' insurance executives.

Franken also seems to have friends among captains of industry, such as CitiGroup executive Lisa Caputo ($500), Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher ($12,300), and perennial Democratic rainmaker George Soros ($10,000).

But Coleman seems to have the edge with homegrown corporate stock, including Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold ($5,000), Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel ($10,000), retired food mogul George Pillsbury ($500), and perennial GOP donor, former GOP state senator and Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor ($10,000). Restaurateur Jeno Paulucci also kicked in $4,500.

Franken's donor list also includes several top Democratic senators, among them Majority Leader Harry Reid, who gave $5,000 through his political action committee. On the GOP side, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky kicked in $5,000 through his PAC.

Despite all the largesse, both candidates entered April with less than $500,000 in their campaign war chests. Franken, who outraised Coleman $3.3 million to $3 million since the beginning of this year, had $483,731 in cash on hand, and debts of more than $1.3 million.

Coleman reports no debt. He also finished the March 31 reporting period with $469,563 in his main campaign account, plus another $133,730 held by his recount committee.

Kevin Diaz • 202-408-2753

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