Disclaimer: The author of this article works for the Drake for Congress campaign.
Through the end of the primary season, Minnesota Democrats and incumbents are blowing away their opposition in contributions.
Across all congressional races, DFL candidates have outraised their Republican opponents by over $1.8 million in contributions. This is even with Congressman Erik Paulsen outpacing all other candidates in the state by more than $1 million.
According to FEC filing reports, Republicans have outraised Democrats in only the 6th and 3rd congressional districts in Minnesota. Incumbent Congressmen Tom Emmer and Paulsen hold 4-to-1 and 56-to-1 advantages over their DFL opponents in those districts. Emmer has disbursed nearly $150,000 to other candidates and committees across the nation. Paulsen has a warchest in excess of $3.2 million to do battle with state Sen. Teri Bonoff’s $571,461 cash on hand.
Elsewhere the Democrats hold most of the chips, with or without an incumbent member of congress.
In CD 2, the four Republicans vying to replace retiring Congressman John Kilne raised a total of $904,653. Darlene Miller and primary winner Jason Lewis raised most of this, totaling more than $740,000 between them. This pales in comparison to Angie Craig’s contributions totals of more than $1.5 million. Lewis exits a hard fought primary with a 6-to-1 deficit against Craig in cash-on-hand.
The biggest deficits come in CD4 and CD5. Incumbent Congresswoman Betty McCollum has raised more than $675,000 compared to Republican challenger Greg Ryan’s meager $6,760. This nearly 100-to-1 ratio is only the second worst however, behind CD5 challenger Frank Drake’s deficit of 110-to-1 to incumbent Keith Ellison. Ellison has raised nearly $1.8 million this election cycle, and as of the last filing had disbursed over $330,000 to other candidates and committees while retaining a $286,900 warchest. Drake has raised just $16,236.
Statewide, incumbents hold a massive advantage over their challengers. The seven incumbent Minnesota members of congress have raised more than $10.2 million. Their 12 primary and general election opponents who have filed FEC reports have raised just more than $1.8 million, more than $1.5 of which comes just from Bonoff in the 3rd, and Stewart Mills in the 8th. In comparison the five candidates running to replace the retiring Kline raised $2.45 million.
A number of Democratic candidates this election cycle are targeting an end to the Citizens United decision regarding campaign financing. The decision allowed corporations and unions to spend more money on political advertising. In Minnesota at least, that may turn out to be quite the boon to their opponents, as more of the additional money going into elections in Minnesota is headed towards DFL candidates.