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Gov. Mark Dayton

Glenn Stubbe, Star Tribune

Cash dash: Dayton still out front in 2014 money

  • Article by: BRIAN BAKST
  • Associated Press
  • June 17, 2014 - 3:35 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota candidates, parties and political groups stockpiling money for the upcoming campaign gave a fresh look at their finances Tuesday.

There are millions at their disposal for television ads, glossy mailings and barnstorming tours.

Aside from sending people to Congress this fall, Minnesota voters will elect a governor, fill other top state offices and decide which party runs the state House. It was the state candidates and groups that had to release details on fundraising and spending from Jan. 1 to May 31.

The next reports are due in late July.

Here are some takeaways:

GOVERNOR'S RACE

Gov. Mark Dayton has a sizable cash-on-hand edge over the four Minnesota Republicans seeking their party nomination in an Aug. 12 primary.

Dayton, a Democrat: Raised $355,000 and had $753,000 in the bank as of June 1, with about $32,000 in unpaid bills.

Businessman Scott Honour, Republican: Raised $273,000 from donors and loaned his campaign $300,000 for the year. Had $227,000 banked.

Former state Rep. Marty Seifert, Republican: Raised $123,000 from donors and loaned his campaign $19,500. Entered June with $104,000.

State Rep. Kurt Zellers, Republican: Raised $120,000 in contributions and loaned his campaign $20,000. Held $95,000 in reserve.

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, Republican: Raised $48,000. Had $33,000 saved.

Software developer Hannah Nicollet, Independence Party: Raised $380 and spent none.

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CAMPAIGN SUBSIDY

Under Minnesota's public campaign subsidy program, the winner of each primary would unlock hundreds of thousands of dollars by agreeing to abide by spending caps.

The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board published new estimates Tuesday on what that could mean to the various candidates, which varies because people can designate an income tax check-off to a particular party.

Dayton is in line for $448,000, while the Republican nominee would get $301,000 and the Independence Party nominee $219,000. There's a catch because Honour isn't participating, which means he wouldn't get the subsidy as the GOP nominee and his share would get split among his opponents.

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OTHER PLAYERS

Outside groups that operate independently of the campaigns are stocking up, too.

So far there has been a smattering of radio ads, television commercials and Internet pop-ups by groups with upbeat names like Compete Minnesota and the Alliance for a Better Minnesota.

Compete Minnesota, which is promoting Honour, reported spending $200,000 on an ad effort. Two funds connected to the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, which ran millions of dollars in ads to help Dayton in 2010, are sitting on a combined $1.35 million. The Democratic Governors Association has routed a $50,000 donation through the Democratic-aligned 2014 Fund.

Not all groups must disclose their spending because they are formed as voter education organizations that file limited details with the IRS. They can't explicitly advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate, but they generally leave little doubt of their ultimate aim.

© 2014 Star Tribune