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 7th District

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

Peterson raises $218,000 during first quarter of 2014

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 14, 2014 - 9:19 AM

Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson raised nearly $218,000 since the start of the year and has $522,000 banked for his reelection bid.

Two GOP groups – American Future Fund and the National Republican Congressional Committee -- have already spent nearly a quarter million dollars on ads in Peterson’s western Minnesota district, which leans conservative.

Peterson’s Republican challenger, state Sen. Torrey Westrom, raised roughly $84,000 by the end of 2013. Westrom has yet to post his first quarter 2014 fundraising numbers ahead of Tuesday’s filing deadline.

Peterson, the lead Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, is seeking a 13th term in Congress. Close to 80 percent of his campaign contributions for this election cycle have come from political action committees, most of them with ties to agriculture.

NRCC Chair: Dems Rick Nolan and Collin Peterson can be beat

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: April 9, 2014 - 4:11 PM

WASHINGTON -- A top Republican campaign operative said Wednesday that Minnesota Democratic Reps. Collin Peterson and Rick Nolan are beatable this fall.

Nolan, of the 8th Congressional District, beat out an incumbent Republican in 2012 when President Obama swept the state. He previously served in the U.S. House of Representatives between 1975 and 1981.

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Rep. Greg Walden said in a sit-down with reporters that Nolan has taken "unfavorable" votes on veterans issues that "won't play well" in northern Minnesota.

He also spoke highly of Stewart Mills, the millionaire businessman vying to unseat him.

"Mills has developed a strong following both online and off and will have the resources necessary to run a competitive race," said Walden, a Republican congressman from Oregon. "I think Stewart is going to give Nolan a real run for his money."

On Peterson, Walden said the veteran chair of the House Agricultural Committee "hasn't run an effective race since 1994."

Peterson is a Democratic outlier in the district, which has voted Republican in the last three presidential races. GOP state Sen. Torrey N. Westrom is running against him.

"This is a district that wants to vote Republican," Walden said. "They haven't had as viable choice to run for Congresss as they do this time with Torrey."

“Representatives Nolan and Peterson are strongly positioned in their races because they are on the side of middle class Minnesotans,” said Brandon Lorenz of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Stewart Mills’ suggestion that he is offended when millionaires like himself are asked to pay their fair share makes it clear he would side with Congressman Ryan’s budget that raise taxes on the middle class to pay for tax cuts for millionaires like himself. Torrey Westrom has a long track record of irresponsibly selling out the middle class, especially when he voted to slash early childhood education when we need to invest in preparing our kids for the high-tech 21st century economy.”

U.S. Supreme Court decision strikes down aggregate limits on giving; may not have immediate impact on Minnesota law

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: April 2, 2014 - 6:16 PM

On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court struck down federal limits on how much an individual can give to campaigns in aggregate, which could allow high dollar donors to spread their largess to a wider swath of political hopefuls and parties.

Unlike the federal system, which essentially limited how many donations in total a donor could give, Minnesota law does not place restrictions on the number of campaigns to which a high-dollar donor can contribute.

Current state law allows donors to give massive amounts to parties or PACs and allows donors to spread their donations to as many candidates  or party committees as they wish.

"We’ve never limited the amount that an individual donor can give to a whole group of candidates," said Gary Goldsmith, executive director of the Minnesota campaign finance board. "We don’t limit at all the amount of money that an individual can give to a party."

Minnesota does place limits on how much candidates can accept from certain types of donors but Goldsmith said those restrictions were not considered by the court.

Other states, including Wisconsin, do have laws to limit the aggregate donations a contributor can spend in an election cycle, according to the National Institute of Money in State Politics. Those nine states' laws may be directly impacted by the federal decision.

The Supreme Court did not overturn the concept of limiting what a campaign can accept from a donor. Currently, donors are limited to giving $5,200 per candidate per election cycle to federal candidates. Minnesota law puts similar restrictions on what an individual can give to a single candidate.

The court's decision will have a much more far reaching impact on federal campaigns and parties, including those from Minnesota.

DFL chair Ken Martin said the ruling allows parties to tap donors for funds, even if those donors had already given to multiple other parties or candidates.

"It has a big impact on state parties," said Martin.

Currently, donors are limited to giving $123,200 for 2013 and 2014 in total to all federal campaigns. That limit made federal cash difficult to raise, Martin said. The Minnesota parties were not limited to what they could raise from individuals in their state committees.

After the decision, Minnesota parties will be able to raise more federal money -- up to $10,000 per individual -- from donors whether or not those individuals had already given to many other federal committees.

"That is hugely helpful to state parties," Martin said. He said the lifting of the overall cap will mean that parties can be more involved in helping federal candidates "up and down the ballot here in Minnesota."

Minnesota Republican Party chair Keith Downey said the decision may mean candidates and parties will be able to raise more.

"It will serve to direct campaign spending toward those who are closest to the public and most publicly accountable for their campaign activities. It also underscores the importance of both transparency and the protection of political speech, which are so important in our political process," Downey said.

Several donors with Minnesota ties have contributed enough in 2013 that they could have bumped up against the limit the court struck down.

According to a Star Tribune analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics, John Grundhofer, former chairman of U.S. Bancorps, donated $142,200 through the end of last year and Patricia Grundhofer, whose is listed on federal documents as the director of the John F. Grundhofer Charitable Foundation, donated $125,600. They gave primarily to non-Minnesota Republican committees.

Stanley Hubbard, head of Hubbard Broadcasting and a a frequent donor to state as well as federal causes, gave nearly $100,000 to federal committees last year alone. He said that every election cycle he gets many calls soliciting donations and he has to refuse them because he is maxed out.

Hubbard has a simple prediction for what will happen now that the court rejected the overall limits: "They are going to start calling."

Updated

Star Tribune data editor Glenn Howatt contributed to this report.

12-536_e1pf by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

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