Early fundraising favors Democrats in Cottage Grove-area legislative racesTwo years ago campaign donations flowed briskly toward Republicans running for Cottage Grove-area legislative seats, but the path of cash generally is stronger in the other direction so far this year.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
Two years ago campaign donations flowed briskly toward Republicans running for Cottage Grove-area legislative seats.
The path of cash generally is stronger in the other direction so far this year.
Democrats hoping to hold the area’s Senate seat and reclaim a House seat lead their GOP opponents in fundraising heading into the general election season, according to the candidates’ recent filings with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, has a 10-to-1 cash advantage over Republican candidate Janis Quinlan, of St. Paul Park, in the Senate District 54 race.
Sieben reported $30,745 cash on hand at the end of July. Quinlan had only $2,900.
Sieben started the year with nearly $15,000 and added $25,301 since January.
Quinlan, who is making her first run for office, raised $3,600 so far this year.
Two years ago, Sieben reported having $38,000 on hand entering the general election season while her GOP opponent, Karin Housley, had just under $4,000. Housley, however, went on to outspend Sieben in the general election roughly $86,000 to $63,000. New political maps put Housley in a different district this year.
In the House 54A race, Democrat Dan Schoen is leading Republican Derrick Lehrke in fundraising by a 2-to-1 margin. Schoen, of St. Paul Park, raised $10,740 through July. He was left with $3,582 cash on hand.
Lehrke, a Cottage Grove City Council member, posted $5,511 in total contributions. Lehrke reported $1,348 cash on hand entering the general election season.
Fundraising in a local House race was dramatically different two years ago.
Cottage Grove Republican John Kriesel had raised more than $24,000 by July of 2010 for his successful House race. His Democratic opponent, Cottage Grove City Council member Jen Peterson, had raised about $7,200. Kriesel spent about $47,500 in the campaign to Peterson’s $23,100.
Lehrke is trying to keep the seat in Republican control after Kriesel opted against re-election. Kriesel donated $1,000 left in his campaign coffers to Lehrke.
In District 54B, Rep. Denny McNamara has about a 10-to-1 fundraising edge over first-time House DFL candidate Joanna Bayers. Both are from Hastings.
McNamara reported $14,895 cash on hand after starting the year with $9,770 and raising an additional $16,295. Bayers had $1,560 on hand; she had raised a total of $6,938.
McNamara donated $5,500 from his fund to the House Republican Campaign Committee, which helps GOP candidates around the state.
One interesting aspect of the recent campaign finance filings was a donation to Schoen, a Cottage Grove police officer. Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey gave Schoen $300. Bailey serves with Lehrke on the Cottage Grove City Council, but the two have disagreed on key city issues.
Candidates use money they raise to pay for advertising, yard signs, polling and other campaign materials. Political parties and organizations also spend money to support or oppose candidates.
Reporter Jon Avise contributed to this story.