The Republican challengers in Minnesota’s two most competitive congressional races are attracting more donations from high-ranking members of Congress.
During the months of April, May and June, Eighth Congressional District candidate Stewart Mills III attracted contributions from the leadership PACs of new House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa of California and Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, chair of the House Republican Conference.
In the state's Seventh District, state Sen. Torrey Westrom picked up donations from the PACs of Scalise, Camp, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan and outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia.
House Speaker John Boehner’s campaign committee also donated to the Mills and Westrom campaigns.
Westrom and Mills had the best fundraising stretches of their campaigns after the National Republican Congressional Committee promoted them to the top tier of its “Young Guns" program. The designation sends a signal to sitting members of Congress that the challengers are promising candidates.
The incumbents in the races, Democratic Reps. Rick Nolan in the Eighth and Collin Peterson in the Seventh, also had their best fundraising quarters of the election cycle and still hold cash-on-hand leads over their challengers.
In Minnesota’s Seventh Congressional District race, Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson and his Republican challenger, Torrey Westrom, stepped up their fundraising during the months of April, May and June.
Peterson raised $268,000 during the quarter and has $717,300 banked for his re-election bid. The top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, Peterson is seeking a 13th term in Congress.
Westrom raised nearly $231,500 and has almost $327,800 cash-on-hand. The attorney and state senator, announced his candidacy in early December.
The second quarter marked the best fundraising period of the election cycle for both candidates.
Westrom has the backing of the national Republicans, who consider Peterson vulnerable because he hails from a district that backed Republican candidate Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. The seat covers much of western Minnesota from the Canadian border down to southern part of the state.
This spring, the National Republican Congressional Committee named Westrom to its “Young Guns” program for promising candidates.
Despite the district's conservative tilt, Republicans challengers haven't posed much of a threat to Peterson, a conservative Democrat who has coasted to re-election for much of the past 20 years.
WASHINGTON -- Democratic Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar will ride out with President Barack Obama Thursday to Minneapolis and attend events with him both days, staffers confirmed Wednesday.
Both Franken and Klobuchar say they want to talk to the president on the plane about the recent flooding in Minnesota.
Klobuchar will speak at the Lake Harriet Bandshell Friday, where Obama is scheduled to make a speech on the economy.
Neither office was able to confirm attendance Tuesday because the Senate voting schedule was still in flux.
Other confirmed Democrats from the Congressional delegation attending at least some of the events with Obama: Rep. Rick Nolan, Rep. Tim Walz, Rep. Betty McCollum and Rep. Keith Ellison. Rep. Collin Peterson will not go to any of them.
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton was enthusiastic about the visit earlier in the week, telling the Strib: "I would be glad to appear with President Obama," he said. "I would want to appear with any president of any political party."
WASHINGTON -- The National Republican Congressional Committee will spend $3.2 million in Twin Cities television this fall on behalf of Stewart Mills and Torrey Westrom, both of whom are trying to unseat Democratic incumbent Reps. Rick Nolan and Collin Peterson.
Republican officials announced the ad reservations Tuesday. The Minnesota buys are a part of a $30 million national effort in outside independent expenditures ahead of the mid-term elections. Independent spending means the NRCC can't, by law, coordinate with Mills or Westrom's campaigns.
The move is strictly offensive; the NRCC doesn't plan on spending any money for its incumbent Republicans.
“These initial ad reservations should strike fear in the campaign offices of both Rick Nolan and Collin Peterson," said Tyler Q. Houlton, NRCC spokesman, in an e-mail. "With Republican candidates as strong as Stewart Mills and Torrey Westrom, we are going on offense and are in a great position to win in November.”
The leadership PAC of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who lost to a Tea Party challenger on Tuesday in a stunning Republican primary upset, has donated $169,500 to Minnesota candidates over the past decade, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Leadership political action committees take in money and donate it to like-minded campaigns.
During that time period, Cantor’s Every Republican is Crucial PAC has donated $40,000 to Rep. Erik Paulsen, $35,000 to Rep. Michele Bachmann and $34,500 to Rep. John Kline.
Cantor’s PAC has also donated to former congressmen Jim Ramstad, Gil Gutknecht and Mark Kennedy, who Cantor also supported during his failed 2006 U.S. Senate run against Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Former Sen. Norm Coleman’s 2008 campaign against Sen. Al Franken received a $5,000 boost from Cantor.
In 2010, he backed Randy Demmers’s campaign against Rep. Tim Walz in the First Congressional District with a $5,000 donation.
In 2012, he donated $10,000 to former Eight District U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack who lost to current congressmen Rick Nolan. This cycle, he’s donated $10,000 to Nolan’s challenger, Stewart Mills III.
Cantor has also donated $5,000 to state Sen. Torrey Westrom’s campaign in the Seventh Congressional District, marking the first time he's put money behind a candidate vying to unseat Rep. Collin Peterson.
Cantor has also been an ally to Minnesota’s Republicans in his role as Majority Leader.
This year, he’s helped Paulsen shepherd anti-sex trafficking legislation through the House.
A charter school advocate, Cantor has backed Kline’s efforts to enact school choice legislation and rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act.
Cantor and Kline also are among a select group of Republicans tasked with developing a viable GOP alternative to the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s health care law.