Senator Al Franken raised a lot of money and spent even more. Stewart Mills has begun self-funding. Representative Collin Peterson had his biggest quarter in a long time.
Those are the big take-aways from a fresh round of campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.
As usual, head over to our campaign finance dashboard to see where each candidate stands after the April to June fundraising period. Meanwhile, here are some key numbers from the reports:
Senator Al Franken raised $3.3 million and has just more than $5 million on hand. Both totals easily top his Republican opponent, businessman Mike McFadden, who brought in $1.1 million and has more than $2 million in the bank.
Those are big numbers for Franken, who’s seeking his first re-election and raising lots of money from small-dollar donors. But his cash-on-hand advantage actually dipped this quarter, because he spent a whole lot between April and June—$4.2 million, more than two-thirds of the total spent by all federal candidates in Minnesota that quarter (McFadden spent $870,000).
The Franken campaign says it made a “significant investment” in its field organization last quarter, which could account for part of its heavy spending. The campaign has also broadcast four television ads since early May.
Republican 8th District candidate Stewart Mills out-raised Representative Rick Nolan by about $63,000, the third time he’s beaten Nolan in the last four fundraising quarters, but the incumbent still has a $150,000 cash-on-hand edge.
More notably, Mills, an executive at Fleet Farm, his family’s company, has begun to pump some of his personal wealth into the campaign, cutting a personal check for $121,000 (that number isn’t reflected in his fundraising total). That’s Mills’ first major contribution to his own campaign. This wasn’t exactly unexpected—he had never ruled out self-funding before Election Day, and Mills’ wealth means he could afford to spend a lot more on this race if he wants to. His stake in Fleet Farm is worth between $41 million and $150 million.
Mills has long been one of national Republicans’ top recruits, and he was named to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Young Guns program in May. Not-so-coincidentally, the NRCC gave Mills $5,000 on June 30.
Nolan, meanwhile, had his best fundraising quarter of the campaign, and he spent less than half what Mills did last quarter, so be banked a decent amount of cash.
Democratic Representative Collin Peterson, facing a serious challenge for the first time in a long time, raised $268,000, his best fundraising quarter in at least three years—and probably a lot longer. He spent only $70,000 of it (the second-smallest amount among incumbents, behind Representative Betty McCollum, who has only token opposition in St. Paul), so his cash-on-hand total ballooned to more than $700,000.
Peterson’s opponent, state Senator Torrey Westrom, raised $0.75 shy of $226,000, the second most among U.S. House challengers, behind Mills. His banked total is $328,000. Outside groups are eyeing the 7th and 8th Districts, so between big fundraising totals for the candidates and the potential for outside money, we’re looking at a couple of spendy races up north this fall.
Republican Representative Erik Paulsen continues to prove himself the most able fundraiser among Minnesota’s U.S. House delegation in the post-Michele Bachmann era. He brought in $440,000 last quarter—the most among House candidates, and only Paulsen’s third-best quarter overall—and is the first member to cross the $2 million cash-on-hand threshold. His opponent, Sharon Sund, has only $29,000 banked, so Paulsen has an almost-gratuitous 74-to-1 cash advantage.
Finally, with news of Mills’ first big loan to his campaign, here’s a tally of who has lent what to their campaigns:
Here’s the campaign finance dashboard.