The release of campaign finance reports has provided a wealth of information, and while the focus is on the top of the ballot races, the downballot contests often turn on effective fundraising. Also, since many of these races aren't polled, the money race is one of the few indicators of what's going on. This installment covers a couple of interesting legislative contests. (Note: most of the links below are to .pdf files)
Senate 50: Chaudhary (D) / Goodwin (D) vs. Bauman (R) vs. Anderson (I)
The ugly saga of Satveer Chaudhary hasn't deprived him of the resources needed to mount his campaign for re-election, but whether that will be enough to overcome the cloud of the Fish Lake matter and his IRS troubles remains to be seen. Starting with over $20,000 in the bank, Chaudhary posted a number of high dollar contributions late Spring and Summer. Perhaps the most interesting was a $250 contribution from Education Minnesota that posted the day after Chaudhary's endorsement was yanked by SD50 DFL. He also just posted a $500 contribution from Teamsters Joint Council 32 DRIVE. Apparently the Teamsters, who have endorsed Mark Dayton for Governor, don't hold it against Chaudhary that he switched his allegiance in the Governor's race to Kelliher under pressure from district DFLers. He's raised around $9,000 this year and spent most of that, but he still has $20,000 cash on hand.
Barb Goodwin's gotten a campaign going in short order and raised over $9,000 since filing for the office on June 1st, with over $7,000 in individual contributions. She's pretty short on cash, but has a good sign presence around the district, good name recognition from her stint as 50A Representative, and the backing of local DFL activists. If she can keep raising money at this pace and win the primary, she'll be fine for the general election.
All of the internecine warfare has led to speculation that the SD50 seat might be plucked by the GOP, but endorsed Republican Gina Bauman posted lackluster numbers with less than $6,500 raised. $1700 of that was from party units or other candidates, and she has only $2500 cash. Bauman will have a serious fundraising disadvantage against either DFL'er. And even worse for GOP hopes, 2006 GOP candidate Rae Hart Anderson has filed as an independent. Anderson, who represents the looniest fringe of the right, will further split the vote and pave the way for whoever emerges from the DFL primary.
Representative 35B: Buesgens (R) / Rees (R) vs. LaFrance (DFL)
It's more amusement than anything else that draws me to this race, but I'm really amazed at how little fundraising Mark Buesgens has done in this race. His campaign's filing shows only $910 raised from individual contributions, $1400 cash, and only one itemized (> $100) donation in the whole report, making for some quick reading. Buesgens is obviously busy with his paying gig as Stonewall Emmer's campaign manager, so we'll get a chance to see whether Buesgens can ignore his district and get reelected.
His primary opponent, former State Rep. Tom Rees, has taken issue with Buesgen's willingness to sell Minnesota's patrimony (in the form of our state parks) to the highest bidder. He's pretty much self-funded his campaign and spent most of it on his website and some newspaper advertising. Jannaya LaFrance is doing okay, raising around $2500 between individual contributions, DFL party support and WomenWinning PAC, but faces the prospect of campaigning in one of the reddest districts in Minnesota.
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