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Minnesota Democrats have money edge

ST. PAUL — Republican candidate Jeff Johnson has narrowed a fundraising gap, but he's still being dramatically outspent by Gov. Mark Dayton.

Dayton's campaign said it will have spent $2 million on TV ads by Election Day. Johnson has spent just $872,000 on ads so far.

Johnson had about $454,000 in the bank as of Oct. 20 — $100,000 more than Dayton, according to reports. Johnson's edge narrows to $55,000 when unpaid bills of both men are factored in.

Both candidates have raised about $2 million this year, though the $775,000 Dayton began 2014 with was five times what Johnson had then.

But the candidates' spending pales in comparison to outside groups such as Alliance for a Better Minnesota, which has spent about $2.8 million on the race — most of it attacking Johnson on TV.


The big spender on the GOP side is the Freedom Club State PAC. That group previously spent close to $1 million on ads criticizing Dayton and House Democrats.

Meanwhile, Democrats seeking to maintain control of Minnesota's House of Representatives have a hefty cash advantage heading into the election's closing days.

Fundraising reports released Tuesday show House Democrats' campaign arm had more than $1 million on hand as of Oct. 20 — five times as much as House Republicans, who need to win seven seats to retake the majority. Democrats' fundraising and spending on House races has nearly doubled the GOP's.

Meanwhile, outside groups on each side have spent millions to shore up support for their party's candidates — or rip their opponents.

Democrats trying to hold onto their majority are defending more than a dozen incumbents, many in conservative-leaning areas.

To that end, the DFL House Caucus has spent nearly $3.2 million, compared with the $1.8 million spent by the House GOP's campaign arm. House Democrats outraised Republicans by a more than 2-to-1 margin, according to fundraising reports.

The money from both ends is flowing predominantly into Democratic-held districts, with as many as 20 in play this year. Only a few Republican-held seats are deemed competitive.

When it comes to outside groups, the battle for the House is one of labor versus business.


Pro Jobs Majority — the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce's political action committee — has spent nearly $1 million on House races, backing Republican candidates or attacking vulnerable incumbent Democrats in mailers or ads. Meanwhile, the labor-funded Alliance for a Better Minnesota has spent about $1.2 million defending House Democrats.

Smaller GOP-leaning groups, such as the Minnesota Jobs Coalition and the Coalition of Minnesota Businesses, have pumped more than $400,000 of cash into boosting Republicans' chances of taking back the House.

Many of those groups still have hundreds of thousands of dollars socked away for the last week of campaigns.

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