Monday, July 26, 2010

Show me the money!

Monday, July 26th was the filing deadline for campaigns to report 2010 fundraising totals to the Campaign Finance Board. While more complete information won't be available until tomorrow morning, the results released by the campaigns so far show lackluster fundraising for the endorsed candidates for Governor. Not only will there be plenty of details to pore over in the gubernatorial filings, there will be constitutional offices and legislative races to examine too. Expect to see a few posts here over the next couple of days as I get a chance to dig in.


I admire Margaret Anderson Kelliher's approach to releasing her totals at a Sunday presser and tying the release to a call for greater income disclosure requirements. It's pretty much pitch perfect, considering that the numbers are not pretty. I'd want to bury the story and pivot too, and that's exactly what she accomplished. Want proof? Check out the Polinaut headline "Kelliher targets Entenza and others on income." Like I said, pitch perfect.

The numbers aren't pretty, but they aren't fatal either. Kelliher raised a respectable $1.23 million since she began campaigning in 2009, and has about $365,000 cash on hand. One thing I'll be looking for is how much of that money has been raised recently and whether the numbers show her fundraising growing in the runup to the primary. The choice to release total numbers as opposed to 2010 numbers makes me suspect that there might be some weakness there.

She'll have GOTV help from endorsing organizations, unions, and the DFL which will stretch that money a bit further. But keeping up with Dayton and Entenza in the burgeoning air war will require her to accelerate her fundraising pace, which will be difficult as I suspect some money will stay on the sidelines until after the August 10 primary. Any independent expenditures prior to the primary will likely be negative ads against Emmer, such as the Alliance for a Better Minnesota ad about the tip penalty.

Entenza is self-financing, that's no surprise. But some of the numbers his campaign released today are eye-popping. He's already given $4 million to his campaign, and almost all of it has been spent on extensive television and radio ads, full color glossy direct mailings, and generous field spending. I think one telling number is that Entenza's raised $672,000 from "outside sources," which is more than half what Kelliher has raised.

If anyone thought that Entenza would go away after early poll results looked bad, they were wrong. He's demonstrated a willingness to spend lavishly and has closed the gap rapidly.

Dayton's campaign didn't release anything in advance of the official CFB release on Tuesday.


Emmer's numbers have to be disappointing for Republicans. There were already whispers going into the convention that Emmer has spent all of his money on hockey jerseys. To his credit the numbers his campaign released represent a respectable turnaround, but $300,000 is not a lot of cash in this election cycle. Remember, though, that Emmer's got time to raise funds and independent groups who will spend on television ads while he's raising the funds. Minnesota Forward has already raised over $600,000 on his behalf, including another $125,000 from Pentair just filed today.


If there was one big piece of news today, it is that Tom Horner is a dead man walking. The $190,000 he reported raising isn't terrible for an IP candidate, but the $27,500 cash on hand means he'll struggle to pay the rent, let alone enter the air war. He's still unknown to a wide swath of the electorate, and that will not change until he can afford to advertise, since he can't rely on a robust party operation or independent groups to supplement his meager bankroll. He's rapidly heading toward Peter Hutchinson territory.

Watch here for more detail on the gubernatorial campaigns and coverage of the other statewide offices as the Campaign Finance Board makes the official reports available.

Follow me on Twitter @aaronklemz

(Image Credit: AMagill on Flickr)

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