St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter has far outraised and outspent candidates challenging his bid for a second term at the helm of Minnesota's capital city.
As of mid-October, Carter had spent more than $725,000 of the $786,000 he raised, according to his latest campaign finance report filed in Ramsey County. Much of that spending went toward advertising, campaign staff and events, the report showed.
Carter's re-election campaign has raised most of its money — a total of about $756,000 — in donations of $50 or more, including contributions from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Metropolitan Council Chair Charlie Zelle and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, as well as local developers and unions.
Mayoral candidate Dino Guerin, a former member of the St. Paul City Council and Ramsey County Board, raised $15,000, according to his most recent campaign finance filing. Candidate Paul Langenfeld logged just over $90,000 in donations, $84,000 of which he reported contributing to himself.
Candidates Bill Hosko and Dora Jones-Robinson raised less than $4,000 each. Three others who filed to run against Carter — Miki Frost, Abu Nayeem and Scott Wergin — did not submit reports indicating they raised or spent any money between early September and mid-October, county spokesman John Siqveland said.
In St. Paul's 2017 election, the city's first open mayoral race in 12 years, Carter scored a decisive victory by earning the more than 50% of the votes needed to win the ranked-choice contest in the first round.
Now Carter, 42, says he is asking St. Paul residents for another four years at City Hall to continue the work he's started during his first term, including a slew of new initiatives intended to foster public safety by supporting low-income families and neighborhoods.
Carter's opponents have most frequently attacked his public safety response, pointing to an uptick in violent crime that St. Paul and cities across the country have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some criticize the mayor for not spending enough money on police as Chief Todd Axtell warns of a staffing shortage, while others have said Carter is not doing enough to reform law enforcement in the wake of George Floyd's murder.
According to the county's election dashboard, 1,850 of St. Paul's 169,815 registered voters have submitted absentee ballots since early voting began Sept. 17. Three additional in-person early voting locations opened Tuesday in St. Paul a week ahead of Election Day.