Sona Mehring, who just a few weeks ago said she would challenge 2nd Congressional District Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline in next year's elections, has dropped out of the race.
"My campaign received tremendous support and words of encouragement. The level of enthusiasm and people's confidence in me was humbling," said Mehring, the former CEO of the nonprofit CaringBridge.
"I came to the tough conclusion that my work with CaringBridge was not done and I needed to end my candidacy for Congress," she said.
That means former DFL State Rep. Mike Obermueller remains as Kline's only challenger. Obermueller ran an unsuccessful campaign against Kline in 2012.(0 Comments)
There are endless ways to slice and dice the numbers behind the 2012 election, but one way to ascertain the cost of the campaigns is to look at how much each candidate spent to win a vote.
Among the candidates vying for a spot in the U.S. House of Representatives, Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann comes out on top having spent more than $11 million from her congressional account. She received 179,241 votes, just a little more than 50 percent of the 6th Congressional District's support.
That amounts to around $65 per vote, according to MPR News' analysis - that's more than any other congressional hopeful, and once again underscores how tight this race was for her compared to her prior elections in the 6th.
That number is a rough figure because Bachmann's presidential bid complicated her finances.
Bachmann spent more than 7 times more than her DFL opponent Jim Graves, who spent roughly $8.70 on each vote.
The below spreadsheet shows where the state's other congressional candidates stack up. Coming in second is 3rd Congressional District Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen who spent $10.55 on each vote.
Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who ran a statewide re-election campaign, is not included in the below spreadsheet, but she spent only $2.66 on each of her 1.8 million votes. Her opponent, Kurt Bills, raised far less than Klobuchar and spent only 92 cents on each of his 868,000 votes.
The numbers only include spending through Oct. 17; candidates almost certainly spent more in the final days of the campaign. The data comes from the Federal Elections Commission and the Minnesota Secretary of State's website.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Bachmann had spent $120 on each vote. That figure mistakenly included spending from Bachmann's presidential campaign account. The numbers have been updated to reflect total disbursements from her congressional campaign only.(5 Comments)
Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan made a fly-by stop to Minnesota on Sunday afternoon.
Before a capacity crowd in a hanger at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, Ryan energized the crowd with the question, "Minnesota, are you going to help us win this election?"
Republicans characterized Ryan's visit as a signal that the sleepy presidential race in Minnesota was waking up and that Republicans were preparing for an upset victory in a state that has reliably voted for Democrats at the top of the presidential ticket for 40 years.
Ryan, who represents a U.S. House district in the southern part of Wisconsin, portrayed himself as a near-native son, mentioning family members who now live in Minnesota, a summer he spent working in Eden Prairie and shared traditions between the two states.
"In DC, people say, 'Oh yeah, Ryan. You're that budget guy from Minnesota, right?'" said Ryan. "No I'm from Wisconsin, close. We're the Catholic deer hunters, they're the Lutheran deer hunters."
All four of Minnesota's Republican U.S. House members were at the rally and gave brief speeches to fire up the crowd. U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack, who's facing the toughest re-election challenge in the state, was given the prime slot and introduced Ryan as his daily exercise buddy in Washington.
"You should see him do an insanity workout," said Cravaack.
Despite Republicans' enthusiasm and certainty that the state could wind up in their column, no opinion polls have shown President Obama with a less than 3 percentage point lead over the Republican ticket.
Still, Ryan's visit could energize Republican volunteers in a state where the GOP Senate candidate, state Rep. Kurt Bills, has failed to gain traction and the state party has suffered financial woes.
Before Ryan's plane landed and taxied up to the hanger, at least 60 volunteers were making phone calls in a phone bank off to the side of the hanger to remind voters to vote and to tell them who the candidates in their district were.
"Whatever your plans were tonight, cancel them, change them. Get out to the phone bank. Knock on doors. Drop lit. There are phone banks set up literally all across this state," said U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Tom Arnold of Blaine, said as he entered the rally that until 10 days ago, he had received little to no contact from the Romney campaign despite being an active Republican.
"It's incredible how the Romney campaign literally turned the machine on and has been making contacts like you wouldn't believe,"
Whether a last-minute surge in enthusiasm by Republicans will be enough to counter an Obama turnout machine that's been present in the state for 14 months will become clear Tuesday night.
The Obama campaign noted that Sunday's rally was the first public event that the Romney campaign has held in Minnesota in eight months.
Listen to Paul Ryan's entire speech here:
Posted at 1:02 PM on October 23, 2012
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Campaign 2012, Campaign 2012: U.S. House, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD2, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD3, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD4, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD5
From MPR's Mark Zdechlik...
Four Democrats running for Congress in Minnesota say Republicans are promoting proposals that would turn Medicare a voucher system.
DFL Representatives Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison say if Republicans are successful at repealing the Affordable Care Act, seniors would lose hundreds of millions of dollars in preventative care and prescription drug benefits.
McCollum says misleading campaign ads from outside groups are clouding the debate. Even so, she says she thinks seniors understand what GOP proposals would do to Medicare and Affordable Care Act benefits.
"Republicans for Congress are resorting to these false attacks because they don't want to be honest with seniors about what their plan really does for seniors and their families," McCollum said. "But we are not going to let them mislead the public and we are not going to let them run away from the facts."]]
Minnesota GOP Party Chairman Pat Shortridge says Democrats are trying to "scare" seniors. Shortridge say the GOP Medicare plan is the only plan that would ensure the program long-term solvency.
The Republican candidate for Congress in Minnesota's 5th District says DFL Congressman Keith Ellison is ducking a debate with him.
Chris Fields held a news conference to say Ellison's campaign canceled a debate scheduled to be held in north Minneapolis later today. Fields says Ellison made the move after the two engaged in a heated debate last week in which Ellison called Fields a "low-life scumbag." Ellison later apologized.
"Instead of giving the citizens of the north side and the 5th Congressional District a chance to participate in a substantive debate with a credible opponent, he is ducking the debate," Fields said. "This reflects the fact that Congressman Ellison cannot answer for his record of neglect and is sorely challenged when trying to control his temper."
Ellison, who attended an earlier news conference that focused on Medicare, declined to say whether he canceled the debate.
"It was canceled," Ellison said. "Debates are for illuminating the issues and this one wasn't going to do that. I can't speak for anybody but myself but I didn't think it was helpful to the process."
Ellison said he prefers to focus on the issues heading into the campaign. Minnesota's 5th Congressional District includes Minneapolis and some suburbs.
Both Ellison and Fields will take questions separately today from representatives of the Coalition of Black Churches, Insight News and African American Leadership Forum. The event will be held at the offices of Insight News and will be broadcast on KFAI-FM at a later date.
Update: Ellison's campaign issued this statement:
"After holding more debates than the Presidential race, I have concluded that an additional debate with my Republican opponent is not in the best interest of the 5th District. As I have talked about my record and vision for the future, Mr. Fields has shed little light on his own vision and has pursued personal insults culminating in an attack on my family. I reacted badly, but even after my sincere apology, my opponent has not reset. In fact, he is clearly milking this for political gain. Instead of engaging in another spectacle, I will be out working hard every day, as I have been, for the people."
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson is dismissing the decision by Minnesota Citizen's Concerned for Life to not endorse him this year.
Peterson and his campaign declined to comment last week when MCCL decided not to endorse him. The group said Peterson lost its endorsement because he voted against efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (even though he voted against the original bill).
Republican Lee Byberg's campaign is now pointing to an online video that was captured by two people at Concordia College that features Peterson talking about MCCL's decision. In the video, Peterson dismissed MCCL's decision to not endorse anyone in the race to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District.
"The only place it got reported is MPR, and those people don't listen to MPR," Peterson said to the woman who asked about the MCCL's decision in the video. (Note: The Star Tribune also wrote about MCCL's decision).
Peterson, who has been endorsed by the MCCL in the past, also suggested that the group contained extremists on the abortion issue. Peterson is opposed to legalized abortion. He later added MCCL's decision to not endorse him "is an end to them as an organization."
"They're now a completely partisan organization," Peterson said. "When you get into that position, you're done. The NRA is smarter because they keep 60 or 70 Democrats. They went out and purposely make a partisan issue out of this. It's stupid."
Byberg's campaign swiftly rebuked Peterson's comments.
"Peterson's decades in Congress have made him arrogant," said Byberg campaign manager Liz Gorham. "Attacking MCCL for sticking to their pro-life principles is appalling. Did it ever occur to him that pro-life voters might want a pro-life Congressman? That isn't extreme, it's democracy."
Peterson's campaign spokeswoman didn't respond to questions about today's comments.
Peterson sent along this statement regarding MCCL's decision:
"I respect the right of MCCL to not endorse me or my opponent in this race. I am pro-life, and have had a 100 percent record with them. I opposed the Affordable Care Act, and have since supported removing the parts of that bill that MCCL objects to. However, their position on repealing the ACA has become partisan and political, and I don't think this should be a partisan issue.
As I've said before, we need to put aside partisanship and work together in Congress to fix what isn't working in this bill, while keeping some of the patient protection issues, like eliminating pre-existing condition exclusions, eliminating the Medicare prescription drug donut hole and allowing individuals to stay on a parent's health care plan up to age 26."
Get used to it.
Between now and Nov. 6, candidates and outside spending groups will be launching new television ads and sending out new campaign literature daily - or at least it will seem that way.
In the 8th Congressional District, where Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack and his DFL opponent Rick Nolan are tangled in one of the most competitive races in the country, House Majority PAC, a group set on putting more Democrats in the U.S. House, has launched a new ad targeting Cravaack for his votes on Medicare.
"What Happened?" plays on a theme common to ads targeting Cravaack - his votes in support of two Republican budget plans that included big changes to Medicare. It's estimated that one version of the plan would have cost future seniors several thousand more each year.
Nolan has a new ad out, too, that highlights what he would do if elected to Congress.
Across the state, voters will be getting mailers from Americans for Prosperity, a group founded by conservative donors Charles and David Koch that advocates for smaller government and lower taxes.
The $2 million direct mail effort will criticize President Barack Obama for his stance on the debt and deficit, and federal spending.
Minnesota is among nine states that will be getting the fliers, the other eight including swing states Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Iowa and Colorado. At this point, polls show Minnesota is likely to back Obama.
Nevertheless, Americas for Prosperity sees Minnesota as part of its long-term strategy to shift voters to the right. In August, the group ran more than $1 million in ads in the Twin Cities market targeting Obama's policies.
And for about a year, the group has had a local office that has weighed in on legislative races and the Vikings Stadium issue.
Two groups leading the charge against Rick Nolan's campaign to unseat 8th Congressional District Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack have launched new ads targeting the Democrat's voting record in the 1970's.
The first ad comes from the American Action Network, a group based in Washington, D.C. and co-founded by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman that has invested $780,000 in the Cravaack-Nolan race.
The American Action Network will spend about $100,000 on "Working Hard," which will air in the Duluth media market and be accompanied by a web campaign, too, the group said in a press release.
The second ad targets Nolan for voting to increase lawmaker pay and for voting to raise the debt ceiling during his first tenure in the U.S. House. It comes from the National Republican Congressional Committee, which has budgeted $1.2 million for ads in Minnesota through the election.
The Cravaack-Nolan race is one of the most competitive and expensive in the country. Recent polls show Nolan and Cravaack in a dead heat.
Posted at 3:08 PM on October 14, 2012
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Campaign 2012, Campaign 2012: U.S. House, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD3, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD4, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD7, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD8
This is a big week for Minnesota's congressional candidates. There will be debates in several congressional districts, including Minnesota's 8th District contest between GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack and Democrat Rick Nolan.
The League of Women Voters will host a 4th Congressional District debate featuring DFL Rep. Betty McCollum, Republican Tony Hernandez and Independence Party candidate Steve Carlson. The event will be held at 7 o'clock on Monday night at North High School in North St. Paul. The event is free and open to the public.
Cravaack and Nolan will meet in a Debate Minnesota forum on Tuesday at noon. The event will be held at Anoka Ramsey Community College and is open to the public. Both candidates also debated the issues on KSTP's At Issue on Friday.
Prairie Public TV in North Dakota will host a debate between DFL Rep. Collin Peterson and Republican Lee Byberg on Tuesday. The debate will air on Tuesday night at 8pm.
On Thursday, GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen and Democrat Brian Barnes will meet in a debate hosted by the Edina and Eden Prairie Chambers of Commerce. The chambers are requiring chamber members to pay $25 to attend. Those who aren't members of the Chamber have to pay $35 to attend.
MPR's The Daily Circuit will also be hosting several debates over the next month. You can see the list of those debates here.
The AFL-CIO is including three of Minnesota's congressional races in a nationwide direct mail campaign aimed at supporting Democratic candidates.
The districts include Minnesota's 8th, 6th and 2nd. The mailers, which are not coordinated with the campaigns, target the Republican incumbents there for their records on jobs, education and social security.
Here's one going out in the 8th Congressional District, a tight and closely watched race between Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack and his DFL opponent Rick Nolan.
More than 26,000 of these fliers will be mailed in the 8th. About 22,000 residents in the 6th and about 19,000 in the 2nd district will get similar mailers.
Posted at 3:23 PM on October 8, 2012
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Campaign 2012, Campaign 2012: U.S. House, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD1, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD2, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD3, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD4, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD5, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD6, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD8, Campaign 2012: U.S. Senate
So far this campaign season MPR News has aired debates in the 1st, 4th and 5th Congressional Districts.
Now MPR's The Daily Circuit will host debates in the 2nd, 3rd and 6th Congressional Districts.
In Minnesota's 2nd District, GOP Rep. John Kline and Democrat Mike Obermueller will square off in studio on Monday, Oct. 29.
In Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District, GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen will face Democrat Brian Barnes in studio on Tuesday, Oct. 30.
In Minnesota's 6th Congressional District, GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann and Democrat Jim Graves will debate the issues on Thursday, Nov. 1.
All the debates will be from 11 a.m. to noon.
MPR is also hosting a debate between DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Republican Kurt Bills on Sunday, Nov. 4 at the Fizgerald Theater in St. Paul at 7 p.m.
Also this week MPR News will air tomorrow's 8th District debate in Duluth between GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack and DFLer Rick Nolan at noon. That's tape-delayed by a couple hours. And Wednesday at noon we will air another 1st District debate recorded Tuesday night in Mankato (and moderated by some guy named Gary Eichten).
And at noon on Oct. 16 MPR News will air an 8th District debate live from Cambridge.
Click here if you're interested in listening to the debate in Minnesota's 1st Congressional District between DFL Rep. Tim Walz and Republican Allen Quist.
Click here if you want to listen to the 5th Congressional District debate between DFL Rep. Keith Ellison and Republican Chris Fields.
Click here if you want to listen to 4th District candidates DFL Rep. Betty McCollum, Republican Tony Hernandez and Independence Party candidate Steve Carlson debate the issues.
U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to headline a Sunday fundraiser for Rick Nolan, the DFL candidate running for Congress in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District.
The fundraiser, which also features Gov. Dayton and every DFL member of Minnesota's Congressional delegation, will be at the home of Archie and Tina Smith. Tina Smith serves as Gov. Dayton's chief of staff.
Donors are being asked to give between $250 and $2,500.
Nolan is looking to unseat GOP U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack in what is shaping up to be the fiercest congressional race in the state. Political handicappers say the race is a toss-up.
Outside groups on both sides have also spent heavily to win the race.
WASHINGTON - The National Rifle Association endorsed DFL Congressman Tim Walz's bid for a fourth term on Tuesday, snubbing Walz's Republican contender, Allen Quist.
The organization gave Walz an "A" rating for his "proved record of defending the Second Amendment."
"I grew up hunting and spent 24 years in the Army National Guard. I know how important Second Amendment rights are to the people of southern Minnesota. I'm proud to stand with the NRA members across southern Minnesota to protect our Second Amendment rights, and I'm truly grateful for their endorsement," said Walz in a statement released by his campaign.
Despite not receiving the NRA's nod, Quist also earned an "A" rating from the group.
The Quist campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the endorsement.
"Allen Quist has been endorsed by the NRA in the past and has always had an A+ NRA rating. The policy of the NRA is to endorse the incumbent if that person is anywhere near their position. So this Walz endorsement was expected," said campaign manager Julie Quist, in a written statement.
The gun rights group has also endorsed Republican U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann, Chip Cravaack and John Kline and DFL U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson.
In June, Walz and Peterson bucked House Democrats and supported a Republican and NRA-backed measure to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for his actions related to an investigation into botched gun smuggling operation. In its endorsement, the NRA cited the vote as part of Walz's record.
A day after her Democratic opponent Jim Graves put two television spots on the air, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann is striking back with an ad of her own.
The 30-second "No Room for Us" ad paints Graves as a big spender.
"Graves' time in Congress would be an expensive stay for Minnesota taxpayers," the ad states. "Big spending Jim supported the wasteful trillion dollar stimulus, and the $700 billion bailout."
Graves "fancies himself a moderate," but "there is simply no evidence to back up that claim," said Bachmann spokesman Chase Kroll in a press release. "Jim Graves has already given his support to big-spending policies that are driving the federal budget deeper into debt."
Bachmann is also running a radio ad that promotes some of her bipartisan accomplishments including the construction of the St. Croix bridge.
Yesterday, Graves launched two TV spots, one highlighting his biography and another that focuses on Bachmann's response to the destruction of the Verso Paper Mill in Startell, Minn.
The ad accuses Bachmann of not being responsive to the mill workers. Bachmann did meet with Sartell city officials to discuss the mill site, but it was after the mill closed.
We'll update this post when we get comment from the Graves campaign.
Here's a statement from Jim Graves:
"Rep. Bachmann is using falsehoods to distract voters from her record of reckless spending in Congress and her failure to represent the people of her district. On Rep. Bachmann's watch--during her three straight terms in office--our nation suffered unprecedented government growth and a deepening national debt, under both democratic and republican leadership. Unlike career politicians, such as Rep. Bachmann, Jim Graves is a businessman with real-life experience balancing budgets and creating private sector jobs. And that's why the people of Minnesota's 6th District are coming out in support of Jim Graves."
Lee Byberg, the Republican candidate in Minnesota's 7th Congressional District, is embracing Republican Mitt Romney's comments at a private fundraiser that 47 percent of Americans 'believe they are victims' and are entitled to help from the government that permeates their lives.
Romney's remarks were recorded without his knowledge and were first reported by Mother Jones Magazine. At a hastily called news conference on Monday night, Romney didn't back off the comments but said they were made "off the cuff" and weren't "elegantly stated." The comments were widely criticized by the Obama campaign, Democrats and several Republicans, among others.
But Byberg, who is challenging DFL Rep. Collin Peterson, announced his support for Romney's comments.
"Romney was merely stating the obvious," Byberg said in a statement. He added that he believed any criticism of Romney "missed the point."
"The welfare state is not only unsustainable financially, but morally as well. A dependency culture undermines human dignity. Government aid should be limited to temporary support, and for those truly unable to care for themselves. By no stretch of the imagination is that 47 percent of the population," Byberg said.
In a follow-up interview, Byberg said he was referring to people who are not paying federal income taxes and wasn't referring to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid when defining the "welfare state."
Byberg acknowledged that nearly two-thirds of households that don't pay federal income taxes do pay payroll taxes, but he said that's not the same.
"We have almost half of the population that is not paying federal income taxes. So we are depriving from them the opportunity to feel that they are part of what it takes to fund a nation," Byberg said. "That is not a good thing."
Byberg is hoping that his comments resonate with the western Minnesota congressional district. This is the second time he's run against Peterson. He lost in 2010 by nearly 18 percentage points.
The National Republican Congressional Committee started running an ad today that calls Democrat Rick Nolan "liberal and radical." The group, which is backing GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack, characterizes Nolan as being out of touch with the district.
"Rick Nolan once actually said that being in Washington made him more liberal and radical," the ad said. "But even after 30 years it hasn't worn off."
The ad then rips Nolan for saying the federal health care law enacted under President Obama "doesn't go far enough."
NRCC spokeswoman Katie Prill said the NRCC has reserved $1.2 million in ad time in the Twin Cities market to focus on the congressional race in northeastern Minnesota.
"Minnesotans deserve to know that if Watergate baby Rick Nolan is sent back to Congress, he will continue his radical and liberal ways of the past. Rick Nolan in Washington means higher taxes, devastating cuts to Medicare and more of Nancy Pelosi's extremely radical job-destroying policies for Minnesota families." Prill said.
The NRCC's ad comes just a day after a political fund aimed at helping Democrats win the U.S. House started running ads criticizing Cravaack.
Minnesota's 8th Congressional District is expected to be the most competitive race in Minnesota this year. Cravaack upset long-time Congressman Jim Oberstar in 2010 and Democrats are hoping they can win back the seat in a district that has historically backed DFL candidates.
Update: Michael Misterek, spokesman for Nolan, released this statement on the ad:
"It is amusing that Chip Cravaack is trying so hard to run from his record of staunch support for the Tea Party agenda and the Paul Ryan budget, which will end Medicare as we know it by handing it over to private, for-profit insurance companies. Cravaack repeatedly voted in support of a plan that will saddle seniors with an additional $6,400 per year in out-of-pocket expenses. All the while, he continuously votes to protect tax break for Big Oil companies and the super-rich.
Rick will always stand up to protect Medicare and would never supports cuts to the earned benefits of seniors. Beyond that, he has a proven track record as a job-creator and as a champion for the middle class. These are the values that Rick shares with the people of the 8th District, where he was born and raised.
It's obvious that the Republicans and outside special interest groups are becoming desperate as they realize Chip Cravaack's day in Congress are numbered."
Republican Congressman Chip Cravaack has agreed to participate debate his DFL opponent Rick Nolan three times before Election Day.
Cravaack's campaign says he will participate in a Duluth News Tribune/Duluth Chamber of Commerce debate on Oct. 9 at 8am at the Duluth Playhouse, a KSTP debate that will be taped on Oct. 12 but will air on Oct. 14 and a Debate Minnesota forum at Anoka-Ramsey County College in Cambridge on Oct. 16 at noon.
But officials with Nolan's campaign say they've agreed to at least four debates and will probably agree to several more. They include the KSTP debate, the debate in Cambridge and proposed debates in Virginia, MN and Duluth. The Nolan campaign has not yet agreed to the Duluth News Tribune/Duluth Chamber of Commerce debate.
Cravaack campaign officials say they won't agree to any more debates.
The number of debates, timing of the forums and the locations could be a factor in the upcoming election. Campaigns are more likely to agree to debates that have a large number of partisans in the audience or are moderated by groups that are friendly to their ideas.
Cravaack is running for re-election in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District. The campaign is expected to be competitive and is getting plenty of attention from outside interest groups. Cravaack won an upset victory over long-time DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar in 2010. The two debated twice that year.
House Majority PAC, a political fund aimed at putting more Democrats in the U.S. House, has launched a new ad targeting 8th Congressional District GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack.
The ad, which will air in the Minneapolis-St. Paul market for two weeks, makes the case that Cravaack went to Washington and abandoned his Minnesota values.
"Chip Cravaack voted to end the current Medicare system," the ad says, and instead supported tax cuts for the wealthy.
The group intends to spend $250,000 on the spot.
It's not the first time House Majority PAC has weighed in on the 8th contest between Cravaack and his DFL opponent Rick Nolan. In August, the group along with unions SEIU and AFSCME, and a second political fund called Friends of Democracy commissioned a poll that showed Nolan with a narrow lead over Cravaack.
House Majority PAC got a head start in the 8th last year when it aired an ad making similar claims about Cravaack's record.
The Cravaack-Nolan is by far the most competitive in Minnesota this year, with the Rothenberg Political Report considering it a toss-up.
Update: Here's a statement from Ben Golnik, an adviser to Cravaack for Congress campaign -
"Over the last year and a half, out-of-state special interest groups have falsely attacked Chip Cravaack. We expect the attacks to continue, as these special interest groups desperately try to prop up the struggling campaign of former Congressman Rick Nolan. Chip Cravaack has an unprecedented record of constituent outreach, and he will continue to focus on bringing more jobs back to the 8th District by supporting pro-growth tax reform to aid small business and reducing regulatory barriers to economic growth."
A new poll commissioned by Jim Graves, the DFL challenger to Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, shows the two candidates effectively tied in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District.
The poll, which surveyed 401 likely voters and was conducted between August 29-30, shows that 48 percent are planning to vote for Bachmann while 46 percent are planning to vote for Graves, a local hotelier. That's within the survey's 4.9 percentage point margin of error.
Six percent of those surveyed said they don't know who they'll vote for.
The poll was paid for by the Graves campaign and conducted by a Democratic polling firm.
Bachmann spokesman Chase Kroll said that's not something that should be ignored, but did not respond to questions about the Bachmann campaign's own internal poll numbers.
"Jim Graves can buy a lot of polls from Democrat pollsters," Kroll said. "What he can't buy is votes. Minnesotans know Congresswoman Bachmann's record as a strong independent voice fighting against wasteful spending in Washington. When people learn about Graves, they'll see that he is just another big-spending liberal that we simply can't afford."
Nevertheless, the survey does show that Graves is catching up with Bachmann. In June, the same firm polled 505 likely voters, and found that Graves had only 43 percent of the vote while Bachmann had 48 percent and 9 percent were undecided.
The latest poll also shows that Graves is doing better among independents. In June, Graves had only 41 percent support among that voting bloc while Bachmann had 45 percent support.
Today, the survey shows Graves leads Bachmann 57 to 37 percent.
Kay Wolsborn, a political science professor with the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University in Collegeville, said the numbers show that there's more of a contest in the 6th district than there has been in the past.
Wolsborn points to Bachmann's presidential campaign as a potential factor.
"There were lots of other things that happened during that campaign that made [Bachmann] a little bit more vulnerable than she would normally be in District 6," Wolsborn said, though she pointed out that Bachmann is still running strong even by the Graves numbers and her ability to raise campaign cash hasn't seemed to diminish.
Wolsborn also said that the shift among independent voters may be a reflection of the fact that there is no third-party candidate in this year's race. For instance, in 2008 Bob Anderson got 10 percent of the vote.
"They don't have anywhere else to go this time," Wolsborn said. "They can always stay home. But in a presidential election year, they're less likely to stay home and if they see something interesting in terms of a local or statewide race - or district race in this case. They're likely to turn out, especially if it's a contest."
Wolsborn pointed out that it's impossible to say whether independent voters in previous 6th district races would have ultimately supported a Democrat or a Republican absent a third-party candidate.
Bachmann's vulnerability has become part of Graves' pitch for support. For instance, an infographic on his Facebook page touts statistics about Bachmann's recent showing in the 6th district primary and directs users to a page on his website where they can sign up to support the Graves campaign.
Still, the Rothenberg Political Report still lists the 6th as safe for Bachmann.
The Democratic National Convention begins in Charlotte, NC tomorrow but Minnesota's delegates will be without some key figures.
Just three of the six DFL members of Congress are expected to be in Charlotte this week. Rep. Keith Ellison is already in town hobnobbing with delegates and others. He has a full speaking schedule over the course of the week. Ellison, who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, says he uses the convention to build relationships.
"I just think as a person who is offering some support and leadership to our party that I can't be missing in action," Ellison said.
Ellison added that his campaign has been working to identify DFL voters to turn out on Election Day. He said going to the convention will help with that grassroots work.
Spokespeople say Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken will be in town for all or part of the convention. Gov. Mark Dayton is also expected to attend. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is scheduled to address the convention on Tuesday.
Democratic Representatives Tim Walz, Collin Peterson and Betty McCollum are not attending the DNC at all.
Walz represents Minnesota's 1st Congressional District and has been targeted by Republicans since he defeated GOP Rep. Gil Gutknecht in 2006. But Sara Severs, the campaign manager for Walz, says Walz isn't avoiding Charlotte for fear of being linked to President Obama.
"Congressman Walz and Gwen Walz do not plan to attend the 2012 convention due to other commitments in Minnesota, most importantly the first day of kindergarten and 6th grade for their two children," Severs wrote in an e-mail. "However, they have been clear about their support for President Obama and wish everyone working on the convention a successful event."
A spokeswoman says McCollum is planning a large "watch party" for President Obama's speech on Thursday night at the Vadnais Heights Commons Convention Center on Thursday.
None of the other DFL candidates for Congress are planning to attend the DNC either.
Democrats aren't the only people who decided to skip the party conventions this year. GOP Representatives John Kline, Erik Paulsen and Chip Cravaack decided not to visit Tampa for last week's Republican National Convention. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills also decided against making the trip to Florida.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann served as a delegate to the convention and also worked the convention crowd.
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who failed in his bid to be the party's nominee for president, had a speaking role at the convention.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that Allen Quist, who is challenging Walz in Minnesota's 1st District, attended the RNC.
An organization dedicated to defeating conservative U.S. House members is targeting 6th Congressional District Rep. Michele Bachmann.
CREDO super PAC, a fund created by San Francisco-based CREDO Mobile cell phone company, has added Bachmann to its "Take Down the Tea Party Ten" campaign.
The group doesn't plan to spend its money on advertisements. Rather, it will rally volunteers to man phone banks and canvass door-to-door to talk to 6th District voters about Bachmann's record, said CREDO spokeswoman Sarah Lane.
CREDO doesn't plan to help Bachmann's DFL opponent Jim Graves either.
"This is about holding Rep. Bachmann accountable for her extremist record in Congress," Land said. "We are just focused on telling voters in the district about her record - about her record on seniors, and women, and the environment, and letting them know about her tea party record in Congress."
By most accounts, Bachmann's seat is safe. But Lane said that CREDO's members have asked the group to campaign against Bachmann. Lane also pointed out that turnout in Bachmann's district for last week's primary was quite low, though turn-out was low throughout Minnesota.
Bachmann campaign spokesman Chase Kroll said, "It's no surprise a group of radical San Francisco liberals are coming to the aid of another radical liberal Jim Graves."
"I'm sure Jim Graves will continue to write himself big checks, but at the end of the day, Minnesotans support Michele Bachmann because they know she's an independent voice, fighting for them to bring about a smaller government and a more affordable way of life," Kroll wrote in an e-mail.
CREDO's 6th district effort mirrors one already in place in the 8th Congressional District. There, CREDO is mobilizing voters to defeat Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack, who is also on the group's "Take Down the Tea Party" list.(1 Comments)
UPDATE - This post has been updated with Sen. Al Franken's financial records.
WASHINGTON - Two months after the other members of Minnesota's congressional delegation released their mandatory annual financial disclosures, U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann, Chip Cravaack and Collin Peterson filed theirs this week.
Members of Congress are only required to release their holdings in broad ranges so an exact accounting is impossible. Assets and liabilities belonging to spouses are also reported on the forms though the spouse is not required to disclose his or her income.
Still, the forms give a good sense of how a member invests his or her money and give a sense of the member's relative wealth. You can see a summary of the other members of the delegation's finances here.
This round of filings leaves DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken the only member of Minnesota's congressional delegation to have yet not released his annual financial disclosure. Franken likely remains the wealthiest member of the state's delegation. In 2011, he reported assets worth between $4.5 and $12.9 million.
DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken remains the wealthiest member of Minnesota's 10 member congressional delegation with a net worth somewhere between $4 and $12.5 million. Like most members of the delegation, Franken is heavily invested in a wide variety of mutual funds and does not own any individual stocks. Unlike most members, Franken also has some unusual investments, including tax-exempt municipal bonds issued by local authorities in Minnesota and a variety of mortgage bonds issued by GNMA, the government-owned mortgage issuer. One of Franken's most valuable investments is in real estate. He owns a co-op apartment in New York City valued between $1 and $5 million. Franken also has a mortgage on a home in Minneapolis that is worth between $100,000 and $250,000.
Franken's outside income from his investments, along with rent from the New York co-op brought in between $93,000 and $257,000 last year. His past career as a comedian and actor also shows up on the disclosure forms. Franken lists royalty agreements for his books, acting work on "Saturday Night Live," and residual payments for appearances in films such as "Stuart Saves His Family" and "Trading Places."
Bachmann, a Republican, owns assets worth between $1.26 and $2.8 million, placing her among the wealthiest members of the delegation. The bulk of the assets she and her husband, Marcus, hold come from his business, a Christian counseling clinic, the clinic's property and a stake in Marcus Bachmann's family farm in Wisconsin. Those properties also generated most of Bachmann's unearned income, between $12,000 and $40,000. Bachmann's remaining assets are invested in a variety of mutual funds, including $15,000 to $50,000 in a Fidelity fund that focuses on gold and the gold industry.
Bachmann also lists her book contract with the Penguin Group for a memoir published last year during her unsuccessful presidential bid. Bachmann reports no income from that book, which had poor sales at the time. In addition to her assets, Bachmann and her husband report a $250,000 to $500,000 mortgage on their home in Lake Elmo. They also report $100,000 to $250,000 business loan.
Cravaack, also a Republican, received $92,273 worth of disability payments from Delta Airlines (he used to fly for Northwest before Delta purchased the airline) in 2011 in addition to his congressional salary of $174,000. Cravaack was stricken from flight status due to sleep aepnea. Cravaack and his wife are among the wealthiest members of the delegation. Their assets are worth nearly $3 million at the high end of the possible range or on the low end, $1 million. Those assets are distributed in a variety of mutual funds and life insurance policies.
The couple also hold between $500,000 and $1 million in stock of the pharmaceutical and medical device maker Novo Nordisk. Cravaack's wife, Traci, works for the firm and received a promotion in 2011 that resulted in her move from Minnesota to New Hampshire with their two sons while Cravaack maintains a home in his district. They have a mortgage worth $250,000 to $500,000 on their New Hampshire home, another mortgage worth between $100,000 and $250,000 on Cravaack's Minnesota residence and a $15,000 to $50,000 mortgage on a family cabin in Wisconsin.
Peterson, a Democrat, holds assets valued between $104,000 and $310,000, none of which is invested in the stock market. In addition to bank accounts, Peterson owns a stake in a family farm worth between $100,000 and $250,000. He also owns stakes in two rental properties each valued between $1,000 and $15,000. Peterson was paid a $8,565 director's fee from one of the rental property partnerships.
Peterson's reported liabilities range between $300,000 and $850,000, which means his debts likely far exceed his assets. Those debts include a mortgage on a condo in Washington, DC, a mortgage on the family farm and a mortgage on his home in Detroit Lakes.
Posted at 3:25 PM on August 16, 2012
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Campaign 2012, Campaign 2012: Minn. House Races, Campaign 2012: Minn. Senate Races, Campaign 2012: U.S. House, MN Legislature, Mark Dayton, Redistricting
A five member panel of judges tasked with redrawing the state's political lines has awarded $345,000 in attorney's fees.
The judicial panel ruled that attorneys representing the DFL Party, Republicans in Minnesota and a group of DFL citizens are entitled to $115,000 each for the work on the redistricting case. The court ruled that the funds should be made available as a result of the Civil Rights Act. Attorneys for the three groups were seeking a total payment of $691,131.
The attorneys were hired to represent the parties in court after Democratic Governor Mark Dayton failed to agree to a set of political boundaries with GOP leaders in the Legislature. A five member judicial panel was then tasked with taking testimony on how the new set of political lines should be drawn as result of the 2010 census. The court released the new set of maps in February.
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie asked the panel to deny attorneys fees because he said taxpayers should not bear the expense of redistricting.
Here's the order:
A110152Order - Taxation of Costs-Disbursements Andor Atty Fees
The Associated Press has called Minnesota's 8th Congressional District DFL primary in favor of Rick Nolan.
Nolan, who represented Minnesota in the U.S. House from 1974 to 1981 will challenge GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack this fall.
Late Tuesday night, Nolan had nearly 40 percent of the vote with 70 percent of the precincts reporting results. His opponents Tarryl Clark and Jeff Anderson were splitting the difference.
Nolan was not the top fundraiser in the race. He had brought in only $357,655 since the start of the race, while Clark raised $1.1 million, much of it coming from her wide fundraising network outside the 8th District and the state. Anderson only raised $172,359, according to the most recent campaign filings.
Allen Quist will represent the Republican party this fall in his bid to unseat 1st Congressional District DFL Rep. Tim Walz.
Quist had been running against GOP state Sen. Mike Parry, who conceded to Quist late Thursday night in a phone call.
Parry said he would support Quist in his race against Walz.
"I told [Allen Quist], as I'm going to tell you right now, this is all about Tim Walz," Parry said. "This is about a Congressman who has failed to represent the first district. This is about a congressman that has joined lockstep with the Obama administration and actively does not support production agriculture."
Parry said he believes Quist is an electable Republican, despite the negative tone the primary race took in the last few weeks.
"Based on what I see tonight, things are changing in the first congressional district. [Quist] is well-versed, he gets it, That's why I'm excited to join his team, to move forward with a common cause and that's to defeat Tim Walz."
At 10:30 p.m., the Secretary of State's office reported that nearly 70 percent of the southern Minnesota district had reported; Parry had 45 percent of the vote while Quist had 54 percent of the vote.
In Mankato, Quist told the crowd that he welcomes Parry to his team.
"We'll work together from now on," Quist said.
Quist told supporters that there's a lot of work ahead, but he's confident that a conservative Repoublican can win the congressional seat.
"Our focus in going to be the number one problem facing our country, and that is the debt crisism" Quist said. "We absolutely have to change direction. We don't have a choice."
Quist contributed much of his own cash to his campaign, and Parry was not able to match Quist's fundraising.
In recent weeks, the Parry-Quist race became more interesting after Parry brought up comments Quist made years ago about social issues, including the roles of men and women in the home.
Last week, Parry got more attention when he called Gov. Mark Dayton "scary" and said that he saw Dayton "pop 15 to 16 pills" during a meeting.
Republican Party of Minnesota Chair Pat Shortridge used Quist's victory to make the party's case against Walz.
"Voters in southern Minnesota deserve representation in Washington that will fight to get spending and regulation under control," Shortridge said in a statement. "Despite election-year conversions, Tim Walz has been a blank check for the Obama administration on key issues like cap and trade, Obamacare, and the failed stimulus. The Walz legacy for future generations will be one of more debt and regulation, and one of less opportunity and growth."
MPR's Elizabeth Baier and Tim Pugmire contributed to this report.
MPR News reporter Mark Zdechlik writes that DFL endorsed candidate Rick Nolan says he feels "terrific" about his primary campaign:
Nolan said he expects he will prevail but that the results will be close in the end and he had high praise for the work the DFL party has done on his behalf.
"The party stepped up in ways that I've never seen them do before. They ran television ads for me, they sent out literature for me. They've had a very, very good, aggressive get out the vote campaign for us in this race so I feel very, very good about it," said Nolan.
Nolan also predicted that whoever ends up winning tonight, Democrats will unite tomorrow behind an effort to take back the 8th District seat from first-term Republicans Congressman Chip Cravaack.
Meanwhile MPR's Dan Kraker reports that Tarryl Clark's party at the Black Woods Grill and Bar in Duluth is relatively quiet so far:
About 25 supporters are here at 9 p.m., sipping drinks and watching the returns slowly trickle in on a big TV screen. Campaign workers say they expect a long night waiting for returns from the far flung corners of Minnesota's 8th district.
Adeline Wright, 34, who owns a hair salon in Duluth, is the kind of voter the Clark campaign is banking on. She says the fact that Clark is a woman is important to her.
"I want there to be more equal representation for women," she said.
But she also believes Clark is the best suited of the three DFL candidates to beat Republican incumbent Chip Cravaack in the general election.
"She has the ability to raise the funds," she said. "She's progressive and qualified, and I think she would be the best person to do the job."
MPR's Stephanie Hemphill has this report from Jeff Anderson's campaign, who is so far trailing Nolan and Clark:
The small crowd here at Carmody Pub is cheerful as they check their smartphones for results. A raucous cheer erupts as Ely's votes are reported. Anderson trounced the others in his home town.
Northern Minnesota's remote rural precincts are notorious for their slow returns. But Anderson says his strength is the same in Duluth as it is further north, so the earlier Duluth returns will be a good indication of his prospects.
Photo: Rick Nolan, center, greets supporters at the 8th congressional district DFL-endorsed candidate's primary party, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012 at the Sunshine Kitchen and Moonshine Lounge in Brainerd. (MPR's Jennifer Simonson)
Posted at 8:00 PM on August 14, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Campaign 2012, Campaign 2012: Minn. House Races, Campaign 2012: Minn. Senate Races, Campaign 2012: U.S. House, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD1, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD8
It's 8 p.m., and the polls have closed across Minnesota.
Tonight, we'll be keeping tabs on several important primary races on the Capitol View blog, including contests in the 1st and 8th congressional districts, and several hotly contested legislative districts.
If you haven't been following these races closely, here are a few to watch:
Minnesota's 1st Congressional District:
In southern Minnesota, Republican state Sen. Mike Parry and Allen Quist are competing to challenge incumbent DFL Rep. Tim Walz in November.
In recent weeks, the Parry-Quist race became more interesting after Parry brought up comments Quist made years ago about social issues, including the roles of men and women in the home.
Last week, Parry got more attention when he called Gov. Mark Dayton "scary" and said that he saw Dayton "pop 15 to 16 pills" during a meeting.
Minnesota's 8th Congressional District:
Jeff Anderson, Tarryl Clark and Rick Nolan are in a three-way contest to challenge Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack in November.
Nolan, a former Minnesota congressman, has the DFL endorsement, but Clark has the fundraising advantage among the three candidates. Since she entered the race, Clark has raised $1.1 million, much of it coming from her wide fundraising network outside the 8th District and the state. Nolan has so far raised $357,655 and Anderson has raised $172,359, according to their most recent campaign finance filings.
The race heated up in recent weeks when Women Vote!, the political spending arm of Emily's List, a group that supports female candidates who support legalized abortions including Clark, sent out a mailer to voters in the 8th questioning Nolan's voting record on abortion issues.
And the Clark campaign released an ad challenging Nolan's work as founder and chairman of the Minnesota World Trade Center. Nolan called the ad "gutter-dirty politics."
Senate District 33:
State Republican Rep. Connie Doepke of Orono and GOP-endorsed David Osmek are both vying to replace retiring Republican state Sen. Gen Olson.
Doepke lost the endorsement to Osmek earlier this year, and the race has since attracted attention from outside groups including the Freedom Club and Americans for Prosperity Minnesota.
Both organizations have a conservative bent, but both have also sent out mailers challenging incumbent Doepke's record on spending and President Barack Obama's health care law. Doepke said the mailers distorted her record.
Meanwhile, Doepke has been forced to clarify her endorsements. After including 3rd Congressional District Rep. Erik Paulsen on a campaign mailer, Paulsen sent out a statement reiterating his endorsement of Osmek.
Also worth watching: House District 33B, where incumbent Rep. Steve Smith, R-Mound, lost the GOP endorsement to Cindy Pugh, who has views tend to be more conservative than Smith's.
Senate District 47:
Bruce Schwichtenberg of Carver is trying to unseat Senate Tax Chair Julianne Ortman of Chanhassen. After a two-hour fight at the May convention, delegates in Senate District 47 left without endorsing a candidate.
Ortman said that the convention's unusual outcome had a lot to do with high turnout among delegates who support Ron Paul. They backed Schwichtenberg over Ortman.
For his part, Schwichtenberg said Ortman is not conservative enough for the district.
House District 4A:
Here, three Republicans and two Democrats want to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Morrie Lanning of Moorhead.
House District 6B:
Three Democrats and two Republicans filed for DFL Rep. Tom Rukavina of Virginia's seat, who is retiring after 13 terms.
Gov. Mark Dayton says a Republican state senator's comments about the medication he takes is a form of gutter politics.
Republican Sen. Mike Parry, R- Waseca, who is running for the GOP nomination the 1st Congressional District talked about Dayton during a fundraiser in Brown County on Monday. In a video, posted online by a New Ulm Journal reporter, Parry said Dayton is "scary."
"When you sit across from him and watch him pop 15 to 16 pills while you're having a meeting, it's scary," Parry said. "We all know how scary Obama is, he is at the same level."
Dayton said he does take medication but said Parry is exaggerating. He said Parry is trying to boost his campaign for Congress by criticizing him.
"That's a lie," Dayton said about Parry's remark. "Somebody who probably thinks he's losing an election in six days is going to reach for anything he can and try to make an issue out of it and blow it up and see if he can get an advantage with it. To me it says a lot more about him than it does about me."
Dayton said he won't ask Parry to apologize for the remarks, but he said Parry should apologize for suggesting he cut funding for veterans services. Parry's campaign manager says Parry stands by his comments.
Parry faces former state Representative Allen Quist next week in the Republican primary in Minnesota's 1st District. The winner will face incumbent DFL Congressman Tim Walz in November.
Update: Parry released this statement:
Statement from Mike Parry:
"I have great sympathy for those who struggle with addiction and depression. Governor Dayton has been upfront about facing these challenges and confirmed today that he takes medication. Last night at a Republican fundraiser, I shared a story from a breakfast meeting I had with Governor Dayton. At that meeting, Governor Dayton took pills. The larger point I made last night was that our state is at a great risk if Democrats take control of the state house and senate -- consequently, Governor Dayton would be able to enact legislation that is out-of-the mainstream with the majority of Minnesotans."(4 Comments)
Posted at 11:06 AM on August 3, 2012
by Brett Neely
Filed under: Campaign 2012, Campaign 2012: U.S. House, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD1, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD2, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD3, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD4, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD5, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD6, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD7, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD8, Campaign 2012: U.S. Senate
WASHINGTON - Although candidates for federal office were required to file campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission just a few weeks ago to cover their 2nd quarter fundraising, they're filing more paperwork now ahead of next month's primary elections. This reporting period covers just the 25 days between the close of the old period on June 30 and July 25.
Here's where things stand:
- Incumbent U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar brought in $131,996 in July, bringing her total fundraising to date to just a shade under $8 million. The Democrat's campaign spent about $215,000 in the same period, eating slightly into her cash but leaving Klobuchar with a still-large war chest of nearly $5.4 million. About $90,000 of Klobuchar's donations came from donors who have more than $200 and from political action committees.
While the FEC deadline for posting campaign finance reports was midnight on Aug. 2, as of noon on Aug. 3, Klobuchar's likely Republican rival state Rep. Kurt Bills had not posted his fundraising figures. In an email, a campaign spokesman said he was looking into the matter.
CD 1 - Rep. Tim Walz, the DFL incumbent in this district, continues to outraise his two GOP opponents. Walz brought in $27,845 compared to $18,800 by Allan Quist and $8,890 by state Sen. Mike Parry. Walz kept his campaign spending to a modest $28,611 in July and his war chest has more $807,000 compared to nearly $118,000 for Quist and nearly $28,000 for Parry. Almost all of Walz's contributions came from donors who gave more than $200 and political action committees.
CD 2 - Incumbent Republican Rep. John Kline brought in $109,780, bringing his total raised this cycle to just over $1.8 million. Of those contributions, more than $96,000 came from donors giving more than $200 and political action committees. Kline's campaign spent more than $91,000 in the 25 days recorded in July and has more than $1.3 million in the bank for the contest this fall.
His DFL challenger, Mike Obermueller, raised $54,505 in July and has thus far brought in $275,000 since entering the race. Obermueller has $227,283 cash on hand and his campaign's operating expenses hit $41,391 during the reporting period. The Obermueller campaign has also taken on $32,500 worth of debt so far. More than $45,000 of Obermueller's contributions campaign from donors giving more than $200 and PACs.
CD 3 - Erik Paulsen, the Republican who represents western suburbs of Minneapolis, is the delegation's biggest fundraiser not named Bachmann. But Paulsen's campaign raised $54,309 in July, a relatively small total for him, bringing his total fundraising this term to more than $2.2 million. Paulsen's campaign spent a little more than $51,000 and his cash on hand is nearly $1.6 million. Almost $43,000 of Paulsen's fundraising came from large donors and PACs.
Paulsen's DFL challenger, Brian Barnes, raised $26,735, bringing his total to date to $217,000. Barnes' campaign spent more than $33,000 in July and has about $50,000 in the bank.
CD 4 - Incumbent DFLer Betty McCollum raised the least of any sitting member from Minnesota, bringing in $12,270 in July for a total to date of $658,123. Still, that's more than double what Republican-endorsed challenger Anthony Hernandez brought in, $5,700. McCollum has $170,199 cash in the bank, compared to $5,370 for Hernandez. McCollum's campaign spent more than $48,000 in July while Hernandez spent $2,506.
CD 5 - Rep. Keith Ellison, the DFL incumbent representing Minneapolis and the inner suburbs, brought in $103,890 in July and has raised more than $1.4 million since January 2011. However, Ellison's campaign spent even more, $111,370, during July, and Ellison ended the reporting period with $126,481 in the bank and no debt. Nearly $69,000 of Ellison's current fundraising came from large donors and PACs.
Republican challenger Chris Fields raised $31,126 bringing his fundraising to date to $113,886. Fields' campaign spent $13,299 and sits on $51,609 in the bank. Large donors contributed $10,600 to his campaign and no PACs gave him money.
CD 6 - Expect to see huge sums spent on this race. Incumbent Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann has a huge fundraising and cash advantage over DFL challenger Jim Graves. Two thirds of her contributions came from small donors who gave less than $200. She raised nearly $1.1 million in 25 days compared to Graves' $64,482. Bachmann also spent big, dropping nearly $700,000 in the same period compared to the $116,000 spent by Graves. Bachmann has more than $2 million in the bank while Graves has about $350,000 on hand but also has $250,000 in debt due to loans he's made his campaign.
CD 7 - Veteran DFL Rep. Collin Peterson pulled in $67,438 in July and has now raised more than $821,000 since his term started in January 2011. His campaign spent almost as much as he raised in July -- $68,057 -- and ends the period with almost exactly $800,000 in the bank. More than $57,000 of Peterson's donations came from large donors and PACs.
Lee Byberg, the Republican who hopes to replace Peterson, raised $25,677. But his campaign's $50,320 worth of spending far outstripped his fundraising and Byberg ends the period with $91,920 in the bank.
CD 8 - This is likely to be Minnesota's most contested race in the fall with Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack defending his seat for the first time after a long DFL lock on the district. Cravaack brought in $59,005 in July, bringing his total fundraising to a hair under $1.5 million. His campaign spent $39,000 and has $916,000 on hand. About $37,000 of Cravaack's fundraising came from large donors and PACs.
Former state Sen. Tarryl Clark, one of three DFLers running in a primary for the chance to compete against Cravaack, was the strongest fundraiser in the district in July. Her campaign raised $65,509 and has raised more than $1.1 million overall. But ahead of the primary, Clark's campaign is spending heavily -- $225,821 -- and she has a little less than $99,000 on hand. Thanks to Democratic grassroots funding networks, Clark raised about two thirds of her fundraising in July from small donors.
Former U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, who received the DFL endorsement in the 8th District, brought in $27,618 and has raised $357,655 since entering the race. Nolan's campaign spent about $33,000 in July and has a little less than $88,000 on hand. Most of Nolan's funds came from large donors.
Former Duluth City Council President Jeff Anderson lags the other two DFL challengers, bringing in $8,031 in July for a total so far of $172,359. His campaign spent more than twice as much -- $19,285 -- in the same period, and Anderson has just $7,238 in the bank.
A group is sending out campaign literature in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District that takes issue with some of DFLer Rick Nolan's votes on abortion.
Women Vote!, the political arm of Emily's List, says in the mailing that Democrat Tarryl Clark will protect abortion rights for women. It raises Nolan's voting record on abortion during his tenure in Congress in the 1970s.
"As a member of Congress, Rick Nolan failed to protect a woman's right to choose, voting repeatedly in favor of limiting access to abortions for some low-income women," the mailing says.
This is the first action Emily's List has taken on behalf of Clark. The group, which works to elect female candidates who support legalized abortion, endorsed Clark's candidacy last year. A spokeswoman for Women Vote! did not returned messages to comment on the group's activity in the race.
Nolan's campaign reacted swiftly to the lit piece. In a statement, Nolan said the mailing "badly distorts" his record.
"I've been in the forefront of the battles for choice, women's rights, and Planned Parenthood for more than 30 years. In fact, my wife, Mary, and I were holding a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood here in the 8th District on the very night the Brainerd Planned Parenthood office was firebombed in August 1994. We will never turn the clock back for women on my watch."
Nolan, Clark and former Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson are competing for the 8th District DFL nomination. Clark and Nolan have largely held back on criticizing each other during the primary battle, but that appears to be changing in the final two weeks before DFLers head to the polls.
Here are the two lit pieces. Click on each picture for a larger image. (Sorry, we don't have higher resolution for the Nolan votes listed at the bottom of the mailer. We altered the images to remove addressee information.)1 Comments)
Republican Mike Parry's campaign for Congress announced today that former Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau is backing Parry. The announcement comes less than three weeks before a GOP primary between Parry, a state Senator from Waseca, and former state Rep. Allen Quist.
Molnau served as lt. governor from 2003-2011 under then Gov. Tim Pawlenty.. In a statement she said Parry is the most qualified candidate in the race.
"Mike is a strong leader who has fought for our conservative principles at the state Capitol," Molnau said. "I know Mike is the right candidate to retire Congressman Tim Walz and return southern Minnesota common-sense to Washington."
Molnau is a former state representative who represented Chaska. She now lives in Nicollet County, which is in the heart of the 1st Congressional District.
Her time as lt. governor was not without controversy. The Minnesota Senate rejected her confirmation as Transportation Commissioner (she served two roles in the Pawlenty Administration) because of the way she handled the I-35W bridge collapse, and because Democrats believed she wasn't doing a good enough job improving the state's roads and bridges. She was also criticized for being absent during key moments of the planning for new the I-35W bridge.
Parry's statement focused on Molnau's leadership as lt. governor and as a state lawmaker.
"For years, Carol and her family have been leaders in the agriculture community, and Carol's endorsement demonstrates our campaign's growing momentum," Parry said in a statement."
Parry and Quist are in a primary battle that has each candidate questioning the conservative credentials of the other. The winner will face DFL Rep. Tim Walz in November.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison says GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann should apologize for suggesting that members of President Obama's administration have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Ellison said he won't ask for a personal apology even though Bachmann said yesterday that Ellison has "a long record of being associated with CAIR [The Council on American-Islamic Relations] and with the Muslim Brotherhood." Ellison said he has no ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and said her claims have no factual basis. He said Bachmann should change course.
"Instead of doubling down and claiming to be distorted, just admit that you're wrong," Ellison said.
Ellison has criticized Bachmann and four other Republican members of the U.S. House for suggesting Secretary of State's Hillary Clinton's top aide has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. GOP House Speaker John Boehner, Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, and others have denounced the allegations without mentioning Bachmann by name.
Through her office Bachmann declined a request for an interview.
Ellison said this isn't the first time Bachmann has made specious claims.
"She has a pattern of making allegations and then being called upon to prove them. She either switches the subject or says she didn't say that or claims to having been distorted," he said.
Ellison said he hasn't reflected on whether Bachmann should face disciplinary charges for her comments.
The other Republican members of Minnesota's Congressional delegation have been quiet about Bachmann's comments. GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen declined comment through a spokesperson. GOP Rep. John Kline and GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack could not be reached for comment.
Posted at 10:52 PM on July 19, 2012
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Campaign 2012, Campaign 2012: U.S. House, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD5, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD6, Michele Bachmann, U.S. House
With MPR's Jon Collins...
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann intensified her claims on assertions that federal officials have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. On a talk show tonight, she zeroed in on DFL Rep. Keith Ellison, a fellow member of Congress who represents a district adjacent to hers.
Bachmann hasn't backed down from claims that a top administration aide has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, even after GOP House Speaker John Boehner and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle condemnedher for making the suggestion. Bachmann instead has turned her fire on Ellison.
Bachmann also told Beck that Ellison wanted to "shut down" her proposed investigation into the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood on the federal government.
Ellison said on Anderson Cooper 360 tonight that he had no ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
"I don't have any Muslim Brotherhood connections as she's talking about," Ellison said. He also said he's not trying to shut down any investigation but is working to raise concerns that Bachmann is making unfounded allegations against Muslims who work for the federal government.
Ellison is the first Muslim elected to Congress and has widely criticized Bachmann for making the allegations that a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood. He has repeatedly criticized Bachmann for "fear mongering" by suggesting Muslims working in the federal government are linked to extremist groups. He said he hopes people stand up to Bachmann's claims.
He told MPR News recently that Bachmann's claims were "the very stuff of McCarthyism, charges of disloyalty or subversion based on thin or attenuated evidence or prejudice."
Bachmann has been the main source of criticism after she and four other lawmakers sent letters in mid-June to federal agencies asking that Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, be investigated for ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
In the past week, her statements about Abedin have been condemned by Boehner, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ). Ed Rollins, who ran Bachmann's campaign for president, also criticized Bachmann's actions as "extreme" and "dishonest." Bachmann's comments have also reportedly upset House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Rogers (R-Mich.). She sits on the House Intelligence Committee.
Bachmann and Ellison were both elected to Congress in 2006. They are both running for reelection.
TCF Bank's employee political action fund has donated $25,000 to the conservative non-profit Americans for Prosperity.
The donation, which amounts to about a fourth of the $105,000 the fund has given away so far this election cycle, was made on May 31, 2012, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission.
Many companies have political action committees. Employees give money to these special funds, and the money is typically given to individual candidates or parties. Many employee funds spread their money equally between Republicans and Democrats.
That's what makes TFC Bank PAC's donation so unusual, says Viveca Novak, a spokeswoman for OpenSecrets.org, a non-profit that tracks political spending and that initially identified the contribution.
Americans for Prosperity is technically a non-profit that can engage in some political activity, but doesn't have to disclose its donors.
"Normal, regular company PACs can be used to give money to candidates. There aren't a whole lot of other ways that you can give money to candidates unless you give as an individual," Novak siad. "There are a lot of other ways to give money to a [non-profit]. You can give some money out of the corporate treasury, which is not something you can do to a candidate."
"It's unclear whether employees who give to the company PAC might be unhappy with the PAC giving such a large percentage of the money that's been donated by employees to a partisan group," Novak said.
It appears the TCF Bank PAC hasn't given to other such non-profits, OpenSecrets.org reports.
Americans for Prosperity is a conservative organization that promotes small government and lower taxes, among other things. It was founded by David Koch, a major Republican donor who, with his brother Charles, owns Koch Industries, a conglomerate that operates oil refineries and owns several household goods brands.
TCF's donation was to the national arm of Americans for Prosperity, but the group has a local branch in Minnesota that's been weighing in this election cycle on the Vikings stadium and the health care law.
TCF Bank PAC has also given thousands to other candidates all over the country who represent both parties. Republican Reps. Chip Cravaack, Michele Bachmann and John Kline are among the recipients.
Read more from OpenSecrets.org.
The American Action Network is reserving $860,000 in air time in the Twin Cities media market this fall for candidate advocacy, according to a press release sent out by the organization.
"This initial investment for the fall will enable the Network to directly communicate with local households about the key congressional candidates and issues in their area," said American Action Network (AAN) spokeswoman Brook Hougesen in a press release.
Hougesen wouldn't say which congressional races the ads will focus on.
But there are at least two Minnesota districts that appear competitive at this point: the 8th Congressional District, where Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack is running for re-election and the 2nd Congressional District, where Republican Rep. John Kline is running for re-election. The U.S. House Democrats' fundraising arm has pledged to assist Democrat Mike Obermueller, who is running against Kline.
AAN is an issue advocacy group co-founded by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, and focuses on center-right issues. The organization is tax-exempt and therefore doesn't have to disclose its donors. But this election cycle, it has been spending heavily in regions important to the Republican party.
Minnesota appears to be one state where AAN will be focusing more of its efforts.
Earlier this month, AAN announced that it will spend money on direct mail, print advertising and robocalls in Cravaack's district. The buy is part of a $1.2 million national initiative in 35 House districts.
Coleman's group also aims to build a long-term relationship with Minnesota. The state is part of AAN's "orphan state" effort, a $10 million pledge to build a national grassroots network that focuses on encouraging lawmakers to support or oppose specific legislative issues, particularly in states where local parties are struggling financially.
After the latest fundraising reports showed their endorsed candidate trailing a challenger in fundraising, the DFL state party is stepping in with a TV ad in the 8th Congressional District.
The Minnesota DFL today released this ad in support of party-endorsed candidate Rick Nolan.
It focuses on Nolan's previous experience as a member of Congress and his roots in the 8th. The party expects to spend $100,000 to run the ad on Duluth broadcast and cable channels between now and the Aug. 14 primary, but a DFL spokeswoman cautioned that the amount could change.
Though Nolan has won his party's endorsement, he's still locked in a primary battle with Tarryl Clark and Jeff Anderson, two other Democrats vying to take on Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack this fall. And Clark raised nearly twice as much money as Nolan in the second quarter of the year.
In a press release announcing the ad, DFL party chair Ken Martin said it's time for the district's Democrats to unite around one candidate.
"With the general election less than four months away, it's more important than ever that we unify behind the candidate who is ready to send Chip Cravaack packing and get to work creating jobs and helping rebuild the economy in Northern Minnesota," Martin said. "That candidate is Rick Nolan, and we are proud to stand by him in this race."5 Comments)
First Congressional District Rep. Tim Walz has raised $234,855 in the second quarter of the year, according to a campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission Sunday.
That brings the three-term Democrat's total fundraising for this election cycle to $1,466,453.
Walz reports having $808,644 in the bank and no debt.
A big chunk of Walz's cash came from political action committees or "PACs" as they are commonly called. All told, these organizations, including the American Sugar Cane League of USA PAC, the Delta Airlines PAC, and a variety of labor, energy and health care fundraising committees, gave Walz $102,000 this quarter. That brings the amount of cash Walz has raised this election from specific groups to $577,925.
Walz's potential opponent Allen Quist has raised $178,230 this quarter, much of it coming from his own pockets.
Minnesota Sen. Mike Parry, the other Republican vying to take on Walz this fall, has yet to report his finances for April, May and June.
Allen Quist, a Republican hoping to challenge 1st Congressional District Rep. Tim Walz this fall, has raised $178,230 in the second quarter of the year.
All told, Quist has raised $243,160 this election cycle, according to a recent report filed with the Federal Election Commission. Quist has $165,214 in the bank.
Most of Quist's cash has come from his own pockets. This quarter, he gave $170,000 to his campaign for a total of $195,000 this election cycle. He's also loaned his campaign $25,000.
Campaign finance reports are due July 15, and so far Walz, a Democrat, and Minnesota Republican Sen. Mike Parry, who is also hoping to be Walz's challenger, have not filed their finances for the quarter.
Making his second bid to represent Minnesota's 7th Congressional District, Republican Lee Byberg has raised roughly $113,449 during the second quarter of this year.
Byberg is looking to oust long-serving Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson.
That figure doesn't include a $40,000 loan, which brings Byberg's total receipts between April and June of this year to roughly $153,449. Byberg has raised more than $320,000 for the entire election cycle.
Byberg has about $119,430 in the bank and is $116,794 in debt, according to his quarterly report.
Peterson's fundraising haul dwarfs Byberg's. He brought in $191,174 this quarter, has $819,648 in the bank, and has no debt.
The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49 announced today that it is backing Republican Congressman Chip Cravaack for Congress. In a statement, the union said its members strongly supported the 8th district congressman over the three DFL candidates running to replace him.
"Ultimately the membership decided we needed to take our partisan hats off, keep political party affiliation out of it, and make an evidence based decision," the release said.
The union noted that Cravaack supports several efforts that labor likes, including increased mineral exploration and mining in the northeastern Minnesota district. It also noted that he worked to protect union interests as well.
"When we took a look at Congressman Cravaack's term in office, it became clear that he has done a good job of staying away from partisan Washington politics, and really focusing on bread and butter issues that are important to construction workers in his district. He is not afraid to stand up to his party when he disagrees with their direction, and his votes reflect that."
The union has roughly 13,000 members in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota but the endorsement will help Cravaack make inroads into a group that traditionally supports Democrats. Cravaack is expected to face a tough reelection battle. Former Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson, former state Sen. Tarryl Clark and former U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan are all running in the DFL primary.
Here's the full statement:
Local 49 8th CD Endorsement Release
Democrat Tarryl Clark reports raising
$210,302 $232,128 from April 1 through June 30, bringing her total fundraising for the 2012 cycle to more than $1 million. Clark, who is running for Congress in Minnesota's 8th District, reports raising $1,054,865 for the election cycle. She has $259,022 in the bank.
Clark started running TV ads with the hopes of boosting her name identification heading into the August primary. She's running in the DFL primary against former DFL Rep. Rick Nolan and former Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson. Every member of the DFL delegation and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak have held fundraisers for Nolan, who has the DFL endorsement.
The winner of the August 14 primary will challenge GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack in November. It's expected to be the most competitive Congressional race in the state this cycle.
Cravaack, Nolan and Anderson have not yet released their fundraising reports yet.
(This report was updated to reflect that Clark's fundraising also included other receipts like dividends and interest that weren't contributions)
WASHINGTON - Mike Obermueller, the DFL candidate vying to unseat Republican John Kline in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District, raised $252,976 in the first two months of his campaign. As of June 30, the Obermueller campaign reports having $214,404 in the bank.
While the 2nd District has been a Republican stronghold since Kline first won his seat in 2002, Democrats believe that the district's new boundaries will be friendlier to them this election cycle. The district has been added to the national Democrats' list of potential swing seats and Obermueller's campaign is getting fundraising support and logistical help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Still, Kline, who also serves as the chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, has a significant financial advantage over Obermueller. Last Friday, Kline's campaign reported raising $428,000 and has about $1.3 million in its campaign war chest.
Outside groups are also signalling that they will also get involved in the 2nd District contest. The Service Employees International Union and House Majority PAC, which both back Democratic candidates, announced plans last week to reserve $900,000 in airtime in the Twin Cities media market which could be spent on the Kline-Obermueller race, as well as the 8th District and contests in Wisconsin.
The Service Employees International Union and House Majority PAC are teaming up to spend nearly $900,000 on ads targeting competitive congressional races in the Minneapolis area.
The planned Minneapolis market purchase is part of a $20 million ad buy in 38 markets launched today by the union and the political action committee, which is aimed at electing Democrats to the U.S. House.
It's unclear exactly when the ads will air and which congressional races the ads will target, said Andy Stone a spokesman for House Majority PAC.
But several districts are candidates. Though Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack's Democratic competitor hasn't been chosen yet, the Rothenburg Political Report rates the 8th Congressional District race as a "pure toss-up."
House Majority PAC has already spent money on ads targeting Cravaack's record on Medicare.
Democrats are also showing interest in the 2nd Congressional District, where Republican Rep. John Kline is facing a challenge from Democrat Mike Obermueller. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has said it plans to spend money helping Obermueller with his campaign.
The Minneapolis television market trickles into Wisconsin, too, where Democrats view races in the state's 7th Congressional District and 8th Congressional District as competitive.(2 Comments)
Posted at 6:15 PM on June 25, 2012
by Brett Neely
Filed under: Campaign 2012, Campaign 2012: U.S. House, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD3, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD4, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD5, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD6, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD8
WASHINGTON - It's not just members of Congress who are required to file public disclosures of their personal finances. Those who want to replace them in Washington also have to file. MPR News took a visit to the basement of the Cannon House Office building where those forms are available to the public to get a peek.
Some candidates filed these forms last year while others filed them within the past weeks. The forms ask for candidates' year to date and last year's earnings. In this post, I have used full year figures unless otherwise noted, so as to give readers a better sense of a candidate's financial status. Candidates are required to list assets in broad categories, making a precise calculation of net worth difficult. They are not required to list the value of their personal residence but are required to disclose any debts, including mortgages, exceeding $10,000.
Here's the rundown of candidates who have filed forms by congressional district:
CD3 - Brian Barnes is the DFL candidate running against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen. Barnes works for Cummins in Minneapolis and reports making $111,000 in salary and bonuses. He lists assets worth as much as $145,000 invested in 401(k) and individual retirement accounts and has no reported debts.
CD4 - Republican Anthony Hernandez is challenging DFL incumbent Betty McCollum in the St. Paul-based 4th District. He lists his full year salary from MRL Company at $17,000, has no reported assets and lists debts in the range of $115,000 to $300,000 which include a mortgage and a student loans.
CD5 - Chris Fields is the Republican challenging DFL U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison. Fields and his spouse earned $171,000 from a law firm they run together. Their assets could be worth as much as $1 million or as little as $466,000. They also earn between $5,000 and $15,000 from a rental property.
CD6 - Hotel owner and 6th District DFL challenger Jim Graves is the wealthiest candidate or incumbent running for federal office in Minnesota this cycle and his wealth would likely be enough to put him among the top 10 wealthiest members of Congress were he to defeat Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.
His net worth is between $22 and $111 million and Graves's campaign says the actual number lies somewhere in the middle. Graves's assets include a number of partnerships and companies he owns, mostly concentrated in the hotel and real estate businesses. Graves reports debts worth as much as $36 million, all mortgages on properties related to his businesses.
Bachmann has attempted to use Graves's wealth as a political issue against him. In fundraising appeals to supporters, Bachmann has called Graves a "self-funding multi-millionaire." So far, Graves has lent his campaign $100,000 and says he expects donations to make up the bulk of the campaign's funds.
CD8 - The Democrats, Jeff Anderson, Tarryl Clark and Rick Nolan are competing in a primary to run against first-term Republican Chip Cravaack. Anderson, a former Duluth City Member and an ad salesman for REO River Broadcasting, reported assets between negative $46,000 and positive $45,000. In 2010 he earned $85,000 from his sales job and an additional $10,000 from the city of Duluth. His assets are invested in mutual funds, and he has a car loan that is between $15,000 and $50,000.
Clark, a former state senator, could have a net worth as low as negative $66,000 or as much as $265,000. Clark's assets are invested in a variety of mutual funds while her debts include credit cards and student loans belonging to herself and her children.
Rick Nolan served in the U.S. House between 1975 and 1981 before going on to a business career in Minnesota. He receives a $24,000 a year pension from the state of Minnesota and earned $27,000 in real estate commissions from Sotheby's brokerage. His assets, which include a stake in the firm Emily Forest Products and a condo in Florida, are worth between $717,000 and $1.5 million. Nolan reports no debts.(3 Comments)
Congressional hopeful Tarryl Clark has released her first television ad in the 8th Congressional District, where she is hoping to win a DFL primary and challenge incumbent Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack.
It's a positive ad. The spot doesn't name Cravaak or Clark's two DFL primary opponents directly, but alludes to three issues Cravaack's opponents frequently focus on: corporate tax breaks, Social Security and Medicare.
"The people in Washington have forgotten what it's like to be part of a community. Giving tax breaks to companies who move Minnesota jobs overseas? That's not right," Clark says in the ad. "And Medicare and Social Security? We can't put our seniors at risk. They shouldn't have to worry."
Though former DFL Rep. Rick Nolan won his party's endorsement, Clark has decided to take her campaign to the primary. Former Duluth City Council Member Jeff Anderson is also running in the primary. So far, Clark has posted strong fundraising numbers.
The Clark campaign did not immediately respond to questions about how long the ad will run and how much it has cost the campaign. We'll update this post when we have more details.
Clark campaign spokesman Chris Kluthe has this to say about the duration and cost of the ad:
"We will keep this ad up as long as we think we need to, but haven't made any hard decisions about how long that will be just yet. It is running on Duluth broadcast right now. All I can say about the size of the buy is that it was substantial."
From MPR's Conrad Wilson....
ST. CLOUD - Speaking before delegates at the state GOP convention, Eighth district Congressman Chip Cravaack warned that the GOP House could be in a budget battle later this year with President Obama.
"I can guarantee you that we are going to have one heck of a budget battle at the end of this year," Cravaack said in his speech to the delegates.
In an interview with MPR News following his speech, Cravaack said the only solution to the coming budget debate is for Republicans and Democrats to come together.
"One party's not going to solve this. We have to come together as Americans," he said. "We can't keep spending money we don't have."
If Congress doesn't pass a budget this year, across the board cuts in the current budget will get triggered. Cravaack, a former Navy pilot, said those cuts will hit defense spending especially hard.
"Sequestration is going to be absolutely disastrous for our military," he said. "Fifty-percent of that is coming out of national defense, which is only 20-percent of the actually budget in itself. So, do the math. An inordinate amount of money's being taken out of our military."
Cravaack was the only member of the state's Congressional delegation to address the convention. Republicans Eric Paulsen, John Kline and Michele Bachmann were noticeably absent.
Cravaack is facing a stiff reelection competition against three Democrats in the Eighth Congressional District. Former Congressman Rick Nolan won the DFL Party's endorsement but former state Senator Tarryl Clark and Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson say they'll run in the primary.
You can listen to Cravaack's speech here: Listen
(MPR's Tom Scheck contributed to this report)
WASHINGTON - The national campaign arm of Democrats in the U.S. House has officially put Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline's 2nd District seat in its sights. It has put his DFL opponent former state Rep. Mike Obermuller on the group's "Red to Blue" list of possible districts to add to the Democratic column.
"[Obermuller] is going to have our full support," said Robby Mook, executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "We are already investing in a ground game there to help make sure we have the infrastructure to turn out the vote."
Kline's district is one of three in Minnesota that the DCCC will likely play a role in this fall. In the 1st District, the DCCC is helping U.S. Rep. Tim Walz defend his seat while the group is also engaged in the 8th District, where it hopes to topple first-term Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack.
Despite Kline's strong showing in the past four elections and a million dollars in his war chest, the DCCC and Obermuller say that Kline's votes on the Republican budget and the 2nd District's new boundaries, which now include DFL-leaning South St. Paul, change the electoral math in their favor.
While the DCCC has been making noise about the 2nd District since the new congressional district maps were released in February, it's not clear just how seriously they intend to compete there. Mook declined to say how much material support they would offer Obermuller, and the last DCCC foray against Kline turned out to be a $100 radio ad buy.
Kline's campaign declined to comment on the DCCC's announcement.
WASHINGTON - The campaign arm of U.S. House Republicans will announce Tuesday that first-term U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack has joined the party's "Patriot Program" for incumbents facing tough re-elections.
The program, sponsored by the National Republican Congressional Committee, gives extra fundraising and campaign resources to members in highly competitive districts. Later this year, program members will have a special fundraiser of their own and will share the proceeds from the event. Membership in the Patriot Program is also seen as the party's seal of approval for Republican donors who might not otherwise be inclined to donate to the member.
The most recent quarterly fundraising figures released last week suggest that Cravaack is likely to face a tough campaign this fall. One of his three DFL challengers, Tarryl Clark, raised $320,000 compared to Cravaack's $246,000. Former U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan raised nearly $77,000 and Jeff Anderson brought in $38,000.
What's most surprising about the announcement is that it comes in April of 2012 and not last year. Most political observers in Minnesota and Washington, DC have expected Cravaack to face a tough re-election challenge in the traditionally Democratic-leaning 8th District ever since he unseated longtime DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar in 2010.
Cravaack broke with the House GOP leadership last summer and voted against the agreement to raise the nation's debt ceiling. At the time, Cravaack sent out a fundraising email to supporters telling them he was "on my own" after defying "the Republican establishment."
Democrats have a similar program, called Frontline Democrats. 1st District DFL Rep. Tim Walz belongs to that program.
Gov. Dayton's father, Bruce Dayton, has given $1,000 to Republican Mike Parry's campaign for Congress.
Parry is seeking the Republican endorsement for Congress in Minnesota's 1st District. He's challenging former state Rep. Allen Quist for the endorsement. The winner will face DFL Rep. Tim Walz in November.
Gov. Dayton's spokeswoman, Katharine Tinucci, confirmed that Bruce Dayton is the governor's father. She said Gov. Dayton had "no idea" about the contribution and that "his father does not discuss his political contributions with him."
Gov. Dayton is a Democrat, but The Center for Responsive Politics says Bruce Dayton has given to politicians from both parties (including Republicans who ran in the Minnesota's 1st District in past cycles).
What makes the contribution to Parry interesting is that Parry and Gov. Dayton have engaged in a war of words over the past two years. For example, Dayton canceled a meeting with Parry after Parry sent out a fundraising e-mail that criticized Dayton.
Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is endorsing fellow Republican Allen Quist in the 1st Congressional District race to determine who will run against Democratic Rep. Tim Walz.
Quist, a former state representative from St. Peter, is competing with state Sen. Mike Parry of Waseca for the GOP endorsement. First District delegates meet Saturday in Mankato to take up the endorsement question.
The Quist campaign released parts of a letter Bachmann sent to delegates expressing her support for him.
"You should support Allen because he is someone you can trust," wrote Bachmann, "and I don't have to tell you that trust is a rare commodity in today's political world."
Quist and Parry both say they will abide by the endorsement and drop out of the race if the other wins the endorsement.(2 Comments)
WASHINGTON - A super PAC founded by former Minnesota U.S. Senator Norm Coleman has received a $5 million donation from billionaire casino titan Sheldon Adelson, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
Coleman founded the Congressional Leadership Fund last fall to take advantage of the unlimited fundraising and spending potential of super PACs, a less regulated form of political action committee. The Fund's goal is to back Republican House candidates and is closely allied with House Speaker John Boehner. Former Minnesota U.S. Rep. Vin Weber is also involved with the group.
Adelson, who runs the Sands Casino in Las Vegas and Macau, has become a prominent Republican donor this election cycle, contributing more than $16 million to a super PAC that backed the primary campaign of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for the GOP presidential nomination.
The $5 million donation by Adelson represents almost the entirety of the Congressional Leadership Fund's fundraising in the first three months of the year. The Fund reported bringing in almost $5.1 million between January and March. In the previous quarter, the super PAC raised just $131,000.
WASHINGTON - Erik Paulsen's re-election campaign reported Sunday that it raised more than $337,000 in the past three months, bringing its haul in this election cycle to $1.7 million. The 3rd District Republican congressman has just under $1.3 million in cash on hand for his campaign.
Over the weekend, the 3rd District DFL endorsed businessman Brian Barnes to take on Paulsen in November. Barnes raised almost $30,000 in the first quarter, $83,000 since he started campaigning, and has just shy of $31,000 in his coffers.
Paulsen, who's in his second term in Congress, raised about $205,000 from individual donors, the vast majority from individuals giving more $200 apiece. Political action committees contributed about $130,000 to Paulsen.
WASHINGTON - Members of Congress and those who want to replace them face a midnight deadline tonight to report their fundraising for the first three months of the year to the Federal Election Commission.
Among the weekend filers are DFL U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison and Tim Walz.
Ellison's re-election campaign brought in more than $232,000 while Walz's raised more than $217,000. Ellison, who represents Minneapolis, reported having $133,000 in the bank while Walz, who regularly faces tough challenges by Republicans in southern Minnesota, had about $708,000 cash on hand and has raised more than $1.2 million in this election cycle.
Fifth District Republican Chris Fields won his party's endorsement to challenge Ellison in November over the weekend. Fields reported raising a little more than $10,000 last quarter and has less than $5,000 on hand.
In the 1st District, Allen Quist and state Sen. Mike Parry are vying for the GOP's endorsement next weekend to take on Walz. Quist's campaign reported raising $37,000 and has more than $59,000 in cash. His campaign is also $25,000 in debt. Parry brought in more than $17,000 and has $36,000 to spend with no debt.
From MPR's Conrad Wilson...
Businessman Jim Graves won the DFL endorsement today in the Minnesota's 6th Congressional District. The hotel company chief executive will run against GOP Rep. Michele. Bachmann in the November.
Graves told delegates in Blaine he'll deliver a win on November 6th.
"I want you to know that I take your endorsement to heart," he said.
Graves defeated employment consultant and activist Anne Nolan and real estate developer and small business owner Brian McGoldrick.
All the candidates say they'll abide by the party's endorsement.
Bachmann also won the Republican endorsement in the 6th District Saturday.
"I am honored and excited to have the Republican endorsement for Minnesota's Sixth District," she wrote in on her Twitter feed/ "Let's turn MN red in 2012! Will you join me?"
Neither Graves nor Bachmann currently live in the 6th District but candidates don't have to live in the district that they represent.
WASHINGTON - First-term Republican Congressman Chip Cravaack raised $246,000 in the first three months of the year for his re-election campaign, according to spokesman Ben Golnik, and has raised a million dollars in total since the beginning of 2011.
Cravaack's campaign also had $629,000 cash on hand seven months out from what's expected to be the most highly-contested congressional race in Minnesota this year.
While this past quarter's fundraising represents Cravaack's largest haul to date, Tarryl Clark, one of three DFLers vying to take on Cravaack in the fall, announced earlier this week that her campaign had raised $320,000 in the past three months, suggesting that he will not have a major financial advantage against his opponents.
The other two DFLers in the race, former U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan and Jeff Anderson, have not yet filed fundraising papers with the Federal Election Commission.
WASHINGTON - After dropping out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination in early January with her campaign in deep in debt, 6th District Congresswoman Michele Bachmann raised more than $550,000 toward her re-election effort in the first quarter of the year, the campaign reported Friday.
After exiting the presidential race, Bachmann announced on Jan. 25th that she would run again for her 6th District seat.
The campaign also says the three-term legislator has almost $650,000 in the bank. A glance at Bachmann's campaign finance reports from the same period in 2010 shows that she raised nearly $820,000 and had more than $1.5 million in her war chest.
"This is highly encouraging - nearly 600 thousand raised in under sixty days," said campaign manager Chase Kroll in a statement. "That puts us on a very strong trajectory."
One of Bachmann's DFL rivals, hotel owner Jim Graves, reported lending his campaign $100,000 and receiving an additional $1,026 in contributions. Graves entered the race this week.
WASHINGTON - DFL U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum raised more than $123,000 toward her re-election campaign in the first three months of 2012. The veteran St. Paul lawmaker has more than $222,000 in the bank, her campaign said Thursday.
McCollum has raised less than other members of the Minnesota congressional delegation who have announced their figures so far.
GOP candidate Dan Flood dropped out of the race for the Republican endorsement last month, and McCollum's only rival is Republican Anthony Hernandez, who has not yet filed his fundraising paperwork. Hernandez had been competing for the GOP endorsement for the U.S. Senate race but left that contest in favor of taking on McCollum last month.
Democrat Tarryl Clark, who is running for Congress in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District, announced today that she raised $320,971 in the first three months of the year. The campaign reports having $418,266 in the bank.
"Our very strong fundraising quarter keeps Tarryl on course to beat Chip Cravaack," said Joe Fox, Clark's campaign manager said in a statement. "With 3,100 new donors in the past three months alone, and 93% of our donors giving $100 or less at a time, it's clear that Tarryl's commitment to fighting for Minnesota's families and communities is resonating."
Clark announced last month that she will not abide by the DFL endorsement process and will run in the August primary. Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson and former Congressman Rick Nolan are the other Democrats running in the race. Anderson also says he'll run in a primary.
The DFL nominee will take on GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack, who is currently serving in his first-term. Both political parties are targeting the northeastern Minnesota congressional district in this year's election.
Cravaack, Anderson and Nolan have not released their fundraising totals yet. The deadline is April 15.
From MPR's Conrad Wilson...
A Minnesota businessman has entered the race to challenge Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Jim Graves told supporters today in St. Cloud that he plans to seek the DFL endorsement in the state's 6th Congressional District.
Graves lives in Minneapolis, but grew up in the St. Cloud area and says he'll establish residency there. He started Graves Hospitality, a hotel management company with hotels in Minneapolis, Chicago and New York. He says 6th District residents need more jobs and higher wages.
"This is a very serious job and I think the 6th District deserves someone full-time that can roll up their sleeves. And believe me, we will," Graves said. "I will stand toe to toe, face to face, bring out the facts and debate with Michele Bachmann what's best for the 6th District."
St. Cloud attorney Anne Nolan and Twin Cities businessman Brian McGoldrick are also seeking the DFL endorsement. Graves says he hasn't decided whether he'll seek the nomination in the primary if he doesn't get the endorsement.
You can listen to Graves announcement here: Listen(2 Comments)
Hotel developer Jim Graves is considering running for Congress as a Democrat in Minnesota's 6th District.
A Graves spokesman said Graves will make an announcement about a possible campaign after the Easter holiday. He said if Graves runs, he will emphasize his track record of job creation.
If Graves chooses to run he will join Brian McGoldrick and Anne Nolan in seeking the DFL endorsement to take on Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Graves does not live in the 6th District, but he grew up there.
Bachmann no longer lives in the district either. Reapportionment sliced off the southeast section of the 6th where Bachmann's home is and put it in the 4th District.
UPDATE: Here's a press release from Graves:
Local businessman, Jim Graves, filed an exploratory campaign committee with the FEC earlier today as he considers running against Michele Bachmann in Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District as a DFL candidate. Graves, born and raised in St. Cloud, attended St. Paul's Elementary School, graduated from Cathedral High School and received a B.S. degree at St. Cloud State University. He started his career as a sixth grade teacher at Holy Spirit Elementary (1974-1976).(1 Comments)
Graves and wife Julie went on to start a business and raise three sons in St. Cloud. Currently Graves serves as a Trustee at St. Benedict's College in St. Joseph, Minnesota.
"When I was a kid, growing up on the north side of St. Cloud, attending St. Paul's Elementary and paying my own tuition at St. Cloud Cathedral High School, I never dreamt that I would live the life I have been so fortunate to live. Now it is my turn to give back. I have created hundreds of jobs, beginning in a make-shift office in my home on the south side of St. Cloud back in 1979," Graves said.
"The people in the sixth district can count on me to serve as a full-time congressman focusing on creating jobs and rebuilding a sustainable middle class. Rather than seeking constant national limelight, I will focus my energy on issues that affect people's lives."
Graves added, "I will be spending the next several days with my family as we will make this important decision together. Everyone can expect an announcement of my decision shortly after Easter."