Gutknecht is flush with cash

Challenger decries fund-raising discrepancy

By Edward Felker


WASHINGTON -- First District U.S. Rep. Gil Gutknecht commands a massive $582,691 war chest heading into the Nov. 2 election, compared to just $20,006 for DFL challenger Leigh Pomeroy, according to their latest campaign disclosures.

Gutknecht, a Republican from Rochester, is seeking his sixth term. Pomeroy, a Minnesota State University professor from Mankato, is seeking his first elected office. Their totals reflect activities through Sept. 30 and were filed with the Federal Election Commission on Friday.


The third candidate, Independence Party nominee Greg Mikkelson, did not file a report as of early Saturday.

For the campaign to date, Gutknecht reported contributions of $786,444 and net spending of $374,110.

Pomeroy reported contributions of $42,976, including $1,200 from himself. His net spending was $22,969.

Pomeroy, who entered the race as a replacement candidate, said his candidacy is an example of the difficulty of running against an incumbent with what he said was special interest support. "Right from the beginning there as a lot made of the (fund-raising) discrepancy, but it's a reality. It's a system we absolutely need to change in this country."

According to his latest disclosure report, Gutknecht raised $261,532 from special interest political action committees, or about 33 percent of his total contributions. Pomeroy had no political action committee contributions through Sept. 30.

Calling himself a "sacrificial lamb," Pomeroy implores voters not to consider the race a foregone conclusion and that democracy should not depend on who has the most money. "For doing that would mean turning our nation over to those who want to use government to advance their own special interests at the expense of the rest of us," he said.

With time running out before the election, Pomeroy said he planned to advertise on radio.

Gutknecht, for his part, is confident enough of his prospects that he has not aired television advertising, his campaign manager Nels Pierson said. He, too, also plans radio ads.


Also on tap is a bus tour through the district the weekend before the election. "Our main drive is to get out the vote, energize the Republicans and give our argument to the independents," Pierson said.

He also defended the lawmaker's practice of building up campaign war chests. He said it was important to discourage national Democrats and outside interests, particularly in Washington, D.C., from targeting the race. "We run like we're 10 points behind," Pierson said.

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