Democrats report more campaign funds than Republicans, according to filings

By: - July 26, 2022 5:51 pm

Gov. Tim Walz reacts to the state budget forecast on Dec. 7, 2021. Photo by Ricardo Lopez/Minnesota Reformer

Campaign finance reports released Tuesday show DFL candidates maintain a big cash advantage heading into the November election even as most analysts expect the party to face headwinds due to inflation and crime. 

Democrats reported record-breaking fundraising numbers in 2022, which party leaders attributed to donor enthusiasm related to national events like the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe V. Wade and the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, prompting voters to back gun control candidates.

The campaign finance disclosures come two weeks before the Aug. 9 primary. 

DFL Gov. Tim Walz has nearly nine times the funds on hand compared to his likely Republican opponent Scott Jensen, with approximately $5 million to Jensen’s $581,000.

Walz raised $2.6 million in 2022 alone — more than double Jensen’s $1 million.

What’s unknown is whether Jensen and other Minnesota Republicans will receive help from deep-pocketed outside groups like the Republican Governors Association, which may see opportunity in Minnesota. The corporate-backed, D.C.-based Republican State Leadership Committee has already given $500,000 to the GOP-aligned Minnesota Jobs Coalition, which backs Republican legislative candidates. 

House Speaker Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, said donors are backing her caucus even more strongly than 2018, when they flipped the lower chamber.  

“Just as the election of Donald Trump motivated Democrats and independents, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is motivating Democrats and independents this summer,” Hortman said.

Attorney General Keith Ellison has more money on hand with $573,000 compared to his GOP-endorsed opponent Jim Schultz’s $114,000, who is viewed by many Republicans as their best shot to break a 15-year statewide election losing streak. 

In the GOP primary, Schultz is up against attorney Doug Wardlow. Wardlow is facing a complaint from the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board for allegedly coordinating advertisements with a political committee.

Democrat Steve Simon is also far out-raising Republican Kim Crockett in the race for Minnesota’s secretary of state, with almost $680,000 cash on hand compared to Crockett’s $77,000.

The DFL House Caucus has nearly $2.3 million cash on hand compared to the GOP House caucus’ $792,000. In the Senate, the Republican caucus has nearly $1.8 million on hand while Democrats have $958,000.

Philanthropist Alida Rockefeller Messinger, who was married to former Gov. Mark Dayton, gave $100,000 to Planned Parenthood Minnesota’s political committee. That’s just a small portion of the roughly $1.9 million she’s given this election cycle to various groups backing Democrats, including $500,000 to the 2022 Fund.* 

A few notable names who donated to Democrats include a $10,000 donation from “Al Franken for Senate” and a $750 donation from former Minnesota Public Radio host Garrison Keillor.

*This story has been updated to give a more complete picture of the political giving of Alida Messinger. 

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Michelle Griffith
Michelle Griffith

Michelle Griffith covers Minnesota politics and policy for the Reformer, with a focus on marginalized communities. Most recently she was a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead in North Dakota where she covered state and local government and Indigenous issues. For two years she was also a corps member with Report for America, a national nonprofit that places journalists in local newsrooms and news deserts. She lives in St. Paul and likes to knit and watch documentaries in her free time.

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