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DFL spends more in 2 of 3 south Washington County legislative races

Democrats spent more and won more in south Washington County last fall.

Sen. Katie Sieben far outspent her opponent in the 2012 election, and freshman Rep. Dan Schoen also had more resources than his challengers, according to final campaign finance reports submitted last week.

In the other local legislative race, Republican Rep. Denny McNamara's spending margin over his Democratic opponent resembled his lopsided win on Nov. 6.

Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park, won his first House term behind a campaign that took in about $20,993 and spent $19,042, according to the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

Schoen's funding included over $9,100 in individual cash contributions as well as nearly $11,400 in donations from lobbyists, political parties and political committees such as unions and trade groups.

Schoen's funding outpaced that of his chief opponent in House District 54A, Republican Derrick Lehrke.

Lehrke, who was trying to jump from his spot on the Cottage Grove City Council to a seat in the Minnesota House, posted contributions totaling $16,581 during the campaign. That included $5,000 Lehrke loaned to his campaign and a $3,281 public subsidy that legislative candidates can receive if they agree to certain overall spending limits and meet other conditions. Schoen waived the subsidy.

Lehrke received $4,040 in individual cash contributions and about $4,150 in political party, political committee and lobbyist contributions.

Lehrke's total spending reached about $16,770, according to his filing.

Schoen's and Lehrke's campaign spending dwarfed that of Independence Party candidate Ron Lischeid. The St. Paul Park man reported just over $4,000 in total receipts, including nearly $2,400 in a public campaign subsidy.

Overall spending in that House race was far below campaign financing in 2010, when Republican John Kriesel spent $47,500 in his victory over DFLer Jen Peterson, who spent about $23,000. Outside groups also spent money on that race, something that did not occur in 2012 as Democrats looked to regain a seat they had long held.

Senate 54

Sieben held a big money advantage over Republican Janis Quinlan throughout the campaign. She started the year with more than $17,419 on hand and by year's end reported adding to that by $45,164, giving her $62,583.

Sieben reported spending $49,532 on her campaign. She ended the year with $13,050 in the bank.

Quinlan, a St. Paul Park Republican and first-time candidate, reported $19,598 in total receipts. She spent nearly all of that money on her candidacy.

In 2010, Sieben won despite being heavily outspent by Republican Karin Housley.

House 54B

McNamara started the 2012 campaign year with $9,770 in the bank. He added to that with $27,151 in contributions, putting his total 2012 campaign war chest at $36,921.

McNamara spent nearly all of that, but his spending included $18,500 he gave to House Republicans' statewide campaign efforts.

DFL challenger Joanna Bayers, of Hastings, took in a total of about $15,590 before 2012 and during the election year. She reported total expenses of $15,693.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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