A handful of business-backed groups that played an instrumental role in supporting Republican legislative candidates in 2010 have stepped up fundraising in the last month, according to a recent round of finance reports.
For instance, the Freedom Club, a group that spent generously in 2010 to help elect new Republican legislators in the Minnesota House, has raised roughly $44,000 since June, when the last round of finance reports were filed.
As it has in the past, the cash came from a relatively small group of Minnesota business people giving $1,000 or $2,000 at a time. So far, the Freedom Club hasn't invested any cash in specific races.
Noticeably absent from the Freedom Club's donor list so far is Robert Cummins, the group's founder and the state's most generous GOP contributors. But Cummins, who is known for shunning publicity and keeping a low profile, gave the Freedom Club more than $200,000 in 2011, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the $321,550 the group has in the bank.
Minnesota's Future, a group largely funded by the Republican Governors Association in 2010 that spent $1.4 million to help Tom Emmer in his unsucessful run for governor, has started padding its election-year coffers, too. Since the start of the year, the group has raised $175,000, with $100,000 coming in on June 22 from Davisco Foods International.
Chris Tiedeman, who works for PR shop Weber Johnson and runs the fund, says to expect more from the group this fall when it comes to state legislative races.
"We haven't locked down all of our plans for the late summer and fall, but we've been active the last couple of cycles and we'll continue to participate in the electoral cycles," Tiedeman said.
Minnesota's Future is already figuring out the lay of the land: the House and Senate GOP caucus fundraising arms shared polling data with group in June, an assist listed as an in-kind contribution Minnesota's Future's report.
The Minnesota Business Partnership's fund has raised nearly $132,000 since the start of the year with about $47,000 of that coming in since early June.
Meanwhile, a small coalition of liberal organizations determined to win the Minnesota Legislature for the DFL has so far raised more than $1 million since the start of the year.
Together, WIN Minnesota PAC its sister 2012 Fund have brought in $1.3 million, money that is meant to help the Alliance for a Better Minnesota Action Fund advertise on behalf of DFL candidates or against their opponents.
But since early June, WIN Minnesota PAC and the 2012 Fund have raised little cash compared to their haul in the first six months of the year. Still, the groups have a combined $1.2 million in the bank.