While it’s not over, it is likely that nothing will take place in the last two weeks of 2022 campaign financing activity to topple independent expenditure spending champion The DFL-associated Alliance for a Better Minnesota.
By the Oct. 24, deadline for filing the latest state election finance board span styling=”font-weight 400 ;”>. , the Alliance had already spent $13.8million of the $15.8million it had received. It has spent nearly all of the money on TV and online ads against Scott Jensen, the GOP nominee for governor.
To ensure that no other political fund can come close to the Alliance, the Alliance reported to the state it had received almost $2 million in large contributions since Oct. 24, and that the Alliance is the only one that has.
The Alliance doesn’t just raise money, it also collects it. DFL’s sophisticated campaign system allows other groups to raise money, mainly from DFL-associated unions or big donors. The Alliance then receives the money for spending. The Alliance received $5.7 million from the 2022 Fund this year. An additional $490,000. was given since then. The Democratic Governors Association political group had already given $6.6 million to the Alliance by the deadline, and $520,000 thereafter.
Because it raises money to support other DFL funds, another DFL-associated group doesn’t appear on the list of top campaign spending organizations. WIN Minnesota raised $2.8million and gave almost all of it to other DFL funds, such as the Alliance which spent it on electioneering. The Senate DFL Caucus Committee gives almost all of it – $4.95 Million – to the state DFL Central committee.
The state DFL reported spending $18 million. However, it also includes party operations, staffing and fundraising. Direct money to candidates and caucus members is not included in the total. About $4 million went directly to the party’s federal account. $6.2 million was used for independent expenses on mailings and ads to support its candidates and to hurt their opponents.
The central committee of the state Republican Party has raised less than $1.1million, with only $50,000 going to independent expenses.
DFL-associated organizations account for seven of the top 10 independent spending spenders. The Alliance is followed closely by the state DFL central Committee ($6.2 million), House DFL Caucus ($3.75 million) as well as the political arm of Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, Safe Accessible Fair Elections – SAFE – ($3.2 million). Another group is iVote, which assists the current Secretary of State Steve Simon while attacking Kim Crockett as the GOP nominee.
This ranking does not include money that these groups have given directly to candidates.
The GOP’s top-spending funds are the Republican Association of Attorneys General, called Minnesota for Freedom, at more than $2,000,000 with an additional $508,000 in post-reporting cash. Advance Minnesota is affiliated to the national GOPAC at $1.95million, the House Republican Caucus, at $1.2 million, and the Minnesota Jobs Coalition, at $1.1 million.
Heal Minnesota, another committee associated to the Jensen campaign could be added to the list after the campaign ends. The latest report reported that it spent $485, but the Heal Minnesota committee received two payments from the National Republican Governors Association of $750,000 each.
Governor Walz is the most prominent candidate among statewide candidates. Tim Walz leads the pack, reporting spending of $8.56million with $721,000 in the bank. Jensen reported spending $4.8 million and still had $339,000 in his bank account. You can find the most recent totals in MinnPost’s federal and state campaign finance dashboard.
Where is the money going? The majority of the money is going to legislative campaigns in battleground district – close races and districts where one party must defend a seat to maintain or gain a majority.
The five Senate races that attracted the most spending were those highlighted in MinnPost’s Watchspan styling=”font-weight 400 ;”>. Only a handful of the 67 Minnesota Senate seats are up for grabs.
The race for the House has changed a little. MinnPost’s Races to Watch featured seven of the most expensive races, but three contests that were not included made it into the top 10 money races. These are 35b where Sen. Jerry Newton of the DFL is running against Republican Polly Matteson for a House seat; 36b where DFLer Brion Curan is against Heidi Gunderson, the GOP; and 55a where Jess Hanson, the incumbent DFLer, is taking on Gabriella Kroetch, the GOP nominee.
MinnPost’s Races to Watch section has been updated with new independent expenditure figures for each campaign.
DFL House candidates are receiving more support than their GOP counterparts due to the dominance DFL-associated fundraising. At the October reporting date, $6.5million had been spent on DFL candidates while $3.64million was spent on GOP candidates.
The money for state Senate campaigns is evenly distributed. $4.4 million for DFL, $4.1 million for GOP.