Campaign fundraising numbers show big advantage for Minnesota Democrats

Campaign fundraising numbers show big advantage for Minnesota Democrats

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(KSTP) – Money is always important in political campaigns, even if it’s not always the determining factor of who wins.

Minnesota’s Republicans are particularly hoping that’s true this year as newly released fundraising totals show a big advantage for the state’s Democrats.

The presidential race will get the most attention across the state and country in 2024, but the fiercest battles will play out in the 134 races for the Minnesota House of Representatives, where Republicans need to flip at least four seats to take control. However, they’ll likely have to do so with little financial help from the Minnesota Republican Party.

Data released by the Minnesota Campaign Finance Board and Federal Election Commission shows that the Minnesota DFL has nearly $1.9 million in cash on hand with less than $100,000 in debt. The state GOP, on the other hand, has $312,000 in cash on hand but also $474,000 in debt.

Still, University of Minnesota political science professor Larry Jacobs says Democrats face some headwinds.

“Joe Biden’s approval rating is about 40% or below, there’s still concern about the economy, there’s concern about immigration. All that weighs on Democrats,” he told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

State legislative candidates will also get help from House caucuses, where the DFL again has an advantage, although not by much — $1.2 million compared to the GOP’s nearly $700,000.

“They’re hoping to use their advantage in terms of cash to offset maybe the momentum and enthusiasm on the Republican side,” Jacobs said.

In the state’s congressional races, the incumbents all have big fundraising advantages.

Democratic incumbent Rep. Angie Craig has over $2.1 million on hand — six times more than her two potential Republican candidates combined — and Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar has nearly $1.5 million on hand compared to her top primary opponent, Don Samuels.

“She remains quite controversial. Don Samuels again is launching a competitive campaign,” Jacobs said.

Samuels came within two percentage points of beating Omar in a 2022 primary. Two other Democrats remain in that race but have only $45,000 in cash on hand combined.

Another interesting race will be the 3rd Congressional District, where the incumbent, Dean Phillips, isn’t running for reelection. State Sen. Kelly Morrison has over $300,000 in cash on hand while her opponent, former Minneapolis city employee Ron Harris, has $22,000.

The incumbents in the state’s other congressional races all have large fundraising advantages, including Rep. Pete Stauber, who is set for a rematch with Jen Schultz.