Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has dramatically outraised his competitors with one week remaining before the election that could shake up the balance of power in City Hall.
Campaign finance reports submitted Tuesday offer the final look at fundraising and spending ahead of Election Day, and show hundreds of thousands of dollars pouring into the races for the mayor's office and City Council seats. The cash has been paying for the final crush of mailers and digital ads and funding canvassers who have been knocking on doors and calling voters across the city.
Frey had raised roughly $292,400 since the last campaign finance reporting deadline in early August and had $155,790 left in the bank for the final push, according to his campaign manager Joe Radinovich, who said, "The strong figures and broad support from across Minneapolis reflect the energy Mayor Frey is seeing on the ground every day."
Sheila Nezhad and Kate Knuth, who are running to the left of Frey, have assembled more modest sums. Nezhad had pulled in roughly $112,000 and has about $50,000 in cash on hand. Knuth raised about $91,000 and had a couple thousand less on hand than Nezhad. Both candidates have been encouraging voters not to rank Frey on their ballots.
"Our campaign has long maintained that we will not win by raising the most money, but by building a strong, strategic movement that gets our message out to as many residents of our city as possible," Nezhad's campaign manager Luna Zeidner said.
They are among a slate of challengers trying to unseat the first-term mayor.
Not all candidates' full fundraising details had been posted as of Tuesday evening. AJ Awed had netted the most money of Frey's challengers as of the last filing deadline, but his latest report showed his fundraising had slowed in recent months. He had about $27,600 on hand for the final push and had raised $25,300.
Meanwhile, Clint Conner's donations in his run for mayor have picked up. He reported raising $60,450 in the past few months and had less than $15,000 on hand.
The city elections are also being influenced by still undisclosed but likely massive spending by political committees that have been deeply involved in the fight over whether to replace the city's police department with a new public safety agency.
Frey, Awed and Conner oppose the proposed charter change to replace the police department, while Nezhad and Knuth support the effort.
Some of the committees donating to different sides of the charter amendment fight are also channeling dollars to mayoral candidates who align with their stances on the charter question.
The progressive group TakeAction Minnesota is focusing the bulk of its efforts on encouraging people to vote for and against charter amendments, but it also dipped its toes into the mayor's race.
The organization's political fund disclosed spending slightly more than $4,000 to support Nezhad and Knuth and just over $5,000 "in opposition to Jacob Frey."
TakeAction was drawn to Nezhad's and Knuth's stances on public safety and climate change, spokeswoman Kenza Hadj-Moussa said, and the group was "extremely disappointed in Mayor Frey's leadership and wanted to build a coalition that could elect a new mayor, and that requires candidates working together and a clear strategy around leaving Frey off our ballots."
Reports from some of Frey's biggest supporters hadn't been publicly posted as of Tuesday evening, and Frey's own report was not yet available. Among those supporters is a political committee called All of Mpls, which endorsed Frey.
The candidate and political committee reports due Tuesday paint an incomplete picture of spending in Minneapolis races. In some cases, outside groups' numbers will not be reported until long after the election.
It's not just the mayor's race and charter amendment questions that are eliciting significant donations.
In the Seventh Ward City Council race, which includes part of downtown and stretches west of Cedar Lake, incumbent Lisa Goodman has raised almost $71,000 in less than three months and has about $143,000 left in her bank account. Reports from challengers Nick Kor and Teqen Zéa-Aida had not been posted Tuesday evening.
Meanwhile, challengers in other races secured far more than the incumbent candidates, including LaTrisha Vetaw, who is running against Council Member Phillipe Cunningham, and Emily Koski, who is trying to unseat Council Member Jeremy Schroeder.
In the battle for outgoing Council President Lisa Bender's Uptown-area ward, Aisha Chughtai raised more than $33,000, double what competitor Katie Jones has raised.
They are two of many candidates angling for the open seat.
Staff writer Liz Navratil contributed to this report.