WASHINGTON - It seems like the election was ages ago. But for political junkies eager to get one last fix of 2012, most U.S. House campaigns have released their last campaign finance reports of the election cycle, which includes the five week period before and shortly after the election.
Here's a quick rundown of where the incumbents and a few of their challengers stand following the elections:
Michele Bachmann - While the 6th District congresswoman won re-election, the Republican tea party leader did not have a good night on Nov. 6. Despite campaigning against President Obama for more than two years, he was comfortably re-elected while Bachmann barely held onto her seat in the most Republican district in the state. Still, she has one consolation: Bachmann's campaign sits on a $2.1 million war chest as the next fundraising cycle begins. She also paid off $390,000 worth of debt from her unsuccessful bid for the GOP presidential nomination and made a last-minute transfer of $115,000 to the campaign arm of House Republicans.
Chip Cravaack - The Republican congressman fell short in his bid to return to Congress for a second term representing the 8th District, and the campaign finance reports show what a hard-fought contest it was. Cravaack's campaign bank account has just $34,539 left but managed to avoid taking on debt in the final days of the race. Tens of thousands of dollars from fellow Republican House members flooded into the campaign's coffers, but they weren't enough to stop Cravaack's DFL challenger, former U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, from taking the district by 9 points. Cravaack can continue to control his campaign's bank account even once he leaves office and could run again using those funds, or return the money to donors, give it to charity or contribute to other candidates' campaigns in the future.
John Kline - While Republican U.S. Rep. Kline faced a stronger-than-expected challenger from DFLer Mike Obermueller, Kline ultimately prevailed in the 2nd District. Kline, whose name has been mentioned as a possible Senate candidate in 2014, holds $554,000 as the next fundraising cycle begins.
Mike Obermueller - Kline's challenger seems interested in a rematch in 2014. Nearly a month after losing the election, his campaign issued a statement calling on Kline to compromise in the fiscal cliff negotiations, and national Democrats appear impressed that he came within 8 points of Kline despite running at a significant fundraising disadvantage. Still, Obermueller will have some financial housecleaning to do to get himself in shape for another election. He lent his campaign $32,500 in the final weeks and it has less than $15,000 on hand.
Erik Paulsen - Erik Paulsen was the only Minnesota Republican to widen his margin of victory in this election over 2010. He's also sitting pretty financially with more $772,000 in the bank as his name is also floated as possible candidate for Senate or governor in 2014.
Collin Peterson - The long-serving DFLer comfortably won re-election in the rural 7th District. He ends the election cycle with just $41,000 in the bank, a small amount for a veteran lawmaker.
Tim Walz - DFLer Walz handily won re-election in his southern Minnesota 1st District. Unlike 2010, when his campaign had to go into debt, Walz ends the 2012 cycle in the black with more than $128,000 in the bank.
As of Friday morning, U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum had not filed their paperwork with Federal Election Commission, nor had U.S. Rep.-elect Rick Nolan.
Good observation that Congresswoman Bachmann donated monies back to the national party ... it should also be noted that John Kline sent $50,000 to the RNCC on 9/27/12 and $11,189 to the RNC on 10/17/12 ... plus giving monies to individual campaigns through his own campaign committee as well as his Freedom and Security PoliticalActionCommittee.
It would be very interesting to hear how much money was spent with Minnesota-based businesses instead of seeing it being spent in DC-based businesses.