Candidate funding tightens in south Washington County's House 54A race; Sieben, McNamara far outpace challengersAn early DFL fundraising advantage in a closely watched south Washington County legislative race has narrowed as the election nears. Meanwhile, incumbents in two other races far outpace their opponents.
By: Scott Wente, South Washington County Bulletin
An early DFL fundraising advantage in a closely watched south Washington County legislative race has narrowed as the election nears.
Meanwhile, in two other area races the incumbents have far exceeded their challengers in campaign spending and even have donated thousands to help their parties in other races around the state.
In House District 54A, DFL candidate Dan Schoen raised over $20,233 and had spent just over $15,034 by Oct. 22, according to recent filings with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
His GOP opponent, Derrick Lehrke, reported $16,490 in total collections and $5,811 in campaign spending in the same filing period.
Schoen was left with $5,199 for the remainder of the campaign while Lehrke reported having $10,679 left.
Schoen, Lehrke and Independence Party candidate Ron Lischeid are running for an open seat that represents part of Cottage Grove, St. Paul Park, Newport, Grey Cloud Island Township and part of South St. Paul.
Lehrke took in $4,040 in individual contributions so far this year and another $4,150 from political parties and committees, lobbyists and political funds. He also took a $3,190 public campaign subsidy and loaned his campaign $5,000.
Lehrke has received $2,000 from Republican Rep. John Kriesel, whose retirement triggered the open seat in District 54A.
Schoen’s donations from political groups, parties and lobbyists outpaced the money he took in from individual donors. He did not take a public subsidy.
Schoen reported receiving $8,989 in individual contributions and another $10,794 from political groups, lobbyists and political organizations. His $5,700 in political organization donations came mostly from labor unions.
Finance reports from early August had showed Schoen with a 2-1 fundraising advantage over Lehrke as the general election season started.
Lischeid trails both Schoen and Lehrke. He reported receiving $4,122, including a $2,345 public subsidy. He spent $3,875, leaving $246 for the remainder of the campaign.
The GOP hopes to hold the seat, which previous to Kriesel’s tenure long was represented by Democrats. The DFL wants to reclaim it.
The race two years ago that pitted Kriesel against DFL challenger Jen Peterson drew more than $55,000 in spending by outside political groups, on top of what the candidates spent. There have been few indications of similar spending by outside groups on advertising in the 54A legislative race this year. Data on independent expenditures was not immediately available.
Senate, House 54B
Campaign spending significantly favors the incumbents in the other two area legislative races.
Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, has a huge lead over Republican challenger Janis Quinlan in donations and spending.
Sieben started the year with $17,419 in cash and collected a total of $33,331 by the recent deadline, in addition to taking a $9,683 public subsidy. That put her at 60,433 in total collections. She donated $8,000 to the Senate DFL caucus and reported expenditures totaling $39,181. She was left with $21,252 cash on hand on Oct. 22.
Quinlan raised $16,246 in total collections, including $6,890 in individual contributions and a $6,805 public subsidy. She spent $12,925 and had $3,320 cash left at the filing deadline.
It was the reverse in House District 54B, where incumbent Republican Denny McNamara has a large fundraising lead over DFL challenger Joanna Bayers. McNamara actually donated more of his campaign’s money to help other Republican races than what Bayers had received in total donations.
McNamara reported having collected a total of $34,018, including a $3,600 public subsidy, and expenditures totaling $33,411. However, $17,500 of the expenditures were contributions from McNamara to House Republicans’ campaign efforts. He was left with $608 for the remainder of the election.
Bayers’ campaign netted $14,656 in total collections, including $9,380 in contributions and a $4,831 public subsidy. She had spent $11,150, leaving $4,220 for the final campaign stretch.
House District 54A
Derrick Lehrke (R)
Cash on hand: $10,679
Ron Lischeid (IP)
Cash on hand: $246
Dan Schoen (DFL)
Cash on hand: $5,199
Senate District 54
Cash on hand: $21,252
Janis Quinlan (R)
Cash on hand: $3,320
House District 54B
Denny McNamara (R)
Cash on hand: $608
Joanna Bayers (DFL)
Cash on hand: $4,220