Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glenn Howatt
Although DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has had a fundraising advantage throughout the campaign, Republican challenger Jeff Johnson has caught up.
According to fundraising reports made public on Tuesday, Dayton has raised just over $2 million in his quest to keep the governor's job and Johnson has raised $1.96 million since January. As of Oct. 20, neither had very much money left for the final stretch -- Dayton had just $342,000 and Johnson had $454,000.
Both candidates have spent time fundraising in the final weeks. Last week, Dayton brought former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Minnesota for a fundraiser. The cash from that fundraiser has yet to be fully reported the state because it came after the close of the reporting period.
For months, Johnson's schedule has been as likely to say he is raising money at private events as he is doing retail politics.
The push has paid off for Johnson of late.
Since Sept. 16, the last fundraising report, Johnson brought in $710,000, while Dayton brought in $427,000.
Still, over the two year campaign period, from 2013 to 2014, Dayton has raised and spent far more money.
Katharine Tinucci, Dayton's campaign manager, on Tuesday said the campaign had released its last television ad of the cycle. The ad, called "Rising," highlights the progress Dayton believes he has brought to Minnesota and hopes to bring.
"The October 20th cash on hand figure coupled with a strong last week of fundraising puts the Mark Dayton for a Better Minnesota campaign in position to finish the final week of the campaign with a robust advertising buy to help get out the Governor’s message," Tinucci said.
The campaign will spend about $350,000 to air the ad during the final week of the campaign, bringing its total ad spending to about $2 million, she said.
Dayton can only raise about $600,000 more for his campaign given the spending cap he agreed to abide by in exchange for a public subsidy.
Johnson has a lot more room to grow -- if he can raise the cash. He has spent $1.8 million so far and is permitted to spend almost $4.4 million. Johnson has a higher spending limit because he faced a contested primary.
Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Hannah Nicollet did not qualify for a public subsidy and has run a much lower dollar campaign than either Johnson or Dayton. She has raised $20,665 this year and spent $13,191.
Here's a further look at Dayton and Johnson's fundraising numbers for 2014, as reported to the state campaign finance board: