With an insider’s eye, Hot Dish tracks the tastiest bits of Minnesota’s political scene and keep you up-to-date on those elected to serve you.

Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, Baird Helgeson, Patricia Lopez, Jim Ragsdale, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Corey Mitchell and Jim Spencer.

Posts about Minnesota congressional

Westrom named to GOP 'contender' list

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 18, 2014 - 2:18 AM

The National Republican Congressional Committee has named Seventh Congressional District candidate Torrey Westrom as an up-and-coming recruit for the 2014 election cycle.

Westrom is one of seven House hopefuls the NRCC added to its “Contender” list today. The state senator is the GOP challenger to Democratic incumbent Collin Peterson in the district that covers most of western Minnesota.

“Torrey Westrom has reached the ‘Contender’ status because he is exemplary of the new leadership needed in Washington D.C. to turn our country around and provide a check and balance in Washington,” said NRCC Chairman Greg Walden, a Republican congressman from Oregon. 

“I am confident that Torrey will continue to work hard for his district and bring sound, conservative principles to Congress.”

Peterson outpaced Westrom during the year’s first fundraising quarter and had $522,000 banked for his re-election bid at the end of March. Westrom’s cash-on-hand total is $170,729.

As challengers ascend the ranks, they’re more likely to receive financial and campaign aid from the NRCC, the campaign arm of House Republicans. The next and final rung is for top tier recruits, who are tagged as “Young Guns.”

Eighth District GOP candidate Stewart Mills III reached 'contender' status in March. He's challenging Democratic congressman Rick Nolan.

U.S. House and Senate fundraising figures

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 16, 2014 - 10:56 AM

Here’s a look at what U.S. House and Senate candidates raised during the first fundraising quarter of 2014 and how much cash on hand their campaigns had at the end of March.

Candidate name

District

Party

 Q1 Fundraising

 Cash on Hand

Aaron Miller

First

Republican

 $47,500

 $43,164

Tim Walz, incumbent

First

Democrat

 $195,000

 $411,216

John Kline, incumbent

Second

Republican

 $270,817

 $1,660,000

Thomas Craft

Second

Democrat

 $5,506  $2,966

Mike Obermueller

Second

Democrat

 $81,148

 $238,211

Paula Overby

Second

Democrat

   

Erik Paulsen, incumbent

Third

Republican

 $431,763

 $1,979,136

Sharon Sund

Third

Democrat

 $33,578

 $28,835

Betty McCollum, incumbent

Fourth

Democrat

 $144,652

 $214,079

Keith Ellison, incumbent

Fifth

Democrat

 $288,043

 $229,460

Thomas Emmer

Sixth

Republican

 $206,094

 $252,738

Philip Krinke

Sixth

Republican

 $62,057  $315,744

Rhonda Sivarajah

Sixth

Republican

 $172,759  $214,808

Joe Perske

Sixth

Democrat

   

James Read

Sixth

Democrat

 $26,711  $34,171

Torrey Westrom

Seventh

Republican

 $136,924  $170,729

Collin Peterson, incumbent

Seventh

Democrat

 $218,000

 $522,650

Stewart Mills III

Eighth

Republican

 $203,000

 $355,738

Rick Nolan, incumbent

Eighth

Democrat

 $265,772

 $478,000

Jim Abeler

Senate

Republican

   

Chris Dahlberg

Mike McFadden

Senate

Senate

Republican

Republican

 $600,000

 $1,800,000

Julianne Ortman

Senate

Republican

   

Al Franken, incumbent

Senate

Democrat

 $2,722,189

 $5,933,851

Kline has $1.4 million cash advantage over likely Democratic opponent

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 15, 2014 - 4:41 PM

Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline’s leading Democratic opponent, former state Rep. Mike Obermueller, raised $81,150 during the first three months of 2014.

With $1.66 million banked for his reelection bid, Kline has an eight-to-one cash advantage over Obermueller, who has roughly $238,000 in cash reserves.

The other Democrats seeking the Second District party nomination, Thomas Craft and Paula Overby, have yet to file their campaign finance reports.

Kline defeated Obermueller, 54 percent to 46 percent, in 2012.

National Democrats had high hopes for Obermueller’s 2014 campaign, but their interest and support has flagged in recent months.

The Rothenberg Political Report, a respected political handicapper, has changed its rating on Kline’s seat, which covers the Twin Cities’ southern suburbs, to “Safe Republican.” Until the change, Kline’s seat had been listed as “Republican-favored.”

The Rothenberg report cited Obermueller’s lackluster fundraising as part of their decision to change the rating.

Unless Democratic groups “decide to spend a couple million dollars to pull Obermueller toward the finish line, it doesn’t like this seat will be playing in the fall,” the Rothernberg report concluded.

The other Democrats seeking the Second District party nomination, Thomas Craft and Paula Overby, have yet to file their campaign finance reports. Democrats in the Second District will choose Kline’s opponent during their April 26 nominating convention.

Nolan has $120K cash lead over Mills in Eighth District race

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 15, 2014 - 11:20 AM

With national Republicans honing in on his northeastern Minnesota congressional seat, Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan’s campaign ramped up its fundraising in the first quarter of 2014.

Through the end of March, Nolan held a roughly $119,000 cash advantage over his Republican opponent, Stewart Mills III. Nolan had $478,000 banked for his reelection run while Mills had almost $356,000 cash on hand, according to their respective campaigns.

In a rare feat for a congressional challenger, Mills had outraised Nolan in the final two fundraising quarters of 2013. But Nolan raked in nearly $266,000 in donations during the first quarter of 2014, outraising Mills by $62,000 during the period. It marked Nolan's most successful fundraising quarter.

Outside money from political action committees and issue advocacy groups will likely factor in the race. Such groups spent millions of dollars in the district in 2012 when Nolan ousted first-term congressman Chip Cravaack.

American Action Network, a conservative advocacy group led by former Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, spent $50,000 on television ads this spring targeting Nolan.

Dating back to last summer, the National Republican Congressional Committee has run several campaign anti-Nolan ads in the Eighth Congressional District. The NRCC, the campaign apparatus of House Republicans, has named Mills as one of its most promising recruits for the 2014 election cycle.

Rep. Paulsen has nearly 70 to 1 cash advantage over likely Democratic opponent

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 15, 2014 - 10:18 AM

Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen has a 68 to 1 cash advantage over his likely Democratic opponent.

After raising nearly $431,800 during the first quarter of 2014, Paulsen has $1.979 million banked for his reelection bid, according to his campaign.

Paulsen’s likely Democratic challenger, Sharon Sund, has $28,835 cash on hand after raising almost $33,600 during the first two weeks of her campaign, which began in mid-March.

Sund, a former Hennepin County DFL chairwoman, is the lone challenger to Paulsen in the state’s Third Congressional District.

“For sure, we’re talking a David and Goliath story, but David had some things … going for him,” Sund told the Star Tribune last week.