Tom Emmer is taking it. Margaret Anderson Kelliher is taking it. Tom Horner is taking it.

The GOP, DFL and IP endorsed candidates for governor have each agreed to abide by the campaign spending limits -- between $2.8 and $3.4 million depending on the situation -- in exchange for getting a state subsidy for their campaigns.

In order to be eligible for the subsidy, candidates for governor have to raise $35,000 in small dollar donations. According to the campaign finance board, Emmer and Kelliher have already submitted documentation to prove they qualify. Candidates have until next week to show they've met the threshold.

DFLers Matt Entenza and Mark Dayton, who will vie against Kelliher in a primary, have not agreed to the limits. Both have personal wealth to finance their campaigns and the subsidy agreement limits how much cash candidates can pour into their campaigns.

If Entenza or Dayton survive the primary, the candidates running against them would still get the subsidy, which could be worth more than $200,000 for the surviving IP candidate and more than $400,000 for the surviving GOP candidate, but wouldn't have to abide by the spending limits.

"You get the money and you don’t have the limit," said Gary Goldsmith, executive director of the state's campaign finance board. Tuesday was the last day for candidates to sign up.

Before the Republican convention, Emmer was sharply critical of former GOP rival Marty Seifert's decision to agree to the public subsidy.

"I haven't signed a public subsidy agreement. I haven't limited myself to the 2.6 or 2.7 million because you may be running against somebody like Mark Dayton who can self-finance up to $8 million. You can't limit yourself and I know my colleague has to be part of the public subsidy program. We are going to have to raise as much money as possible to take on these folks next summer," Emmer said this March. "I think that's an important distinction."

Seifert, who dropped out of the race after Emmer won the GOP endorsement, said Emmer had signed the public subsidy agreements for his House races and noted that he would be released from the agreement if he is up against a self-financing candidate.

On Tuesday, Bill Walsh, Emmer's spokesman, said Emmer was simply questioning why Seifert signed the agreement so early. Walsh said the Emmer campaign thought long and hard about signing it but the choice  to do so, "was not a difficult decision at the end of the day."




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