State Sen. Julianne Ortman Jennifer Simonson/MPR News

State Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, says her U.S. Senate campaign raised $375,000 during the first three months of 2014.

Campaign officials say that’s a more than 300 percent increase over Ortman’s 4th quarter 2013 fundraising.

Her fundraising total now stands at $610,000.  That’s well below businessman and political newcomer Mike McFadden’s $2.8 million total, but it is  much more than any of the other Republican Senate candidates have been able to muster.

McFadden said he ended March with $1.8 million dollars in campaign cash on hand. Ortman has not yet released her cash-on-hand number.

Elbow Lake Republican state Sen. Torrey Westrom will be getting additional assistance from Washington in his campaign to wrest the 7th Congressional District seat from long-time Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson.

Westrom, who was already part of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s ‘Young Guns’ program for promising congressional hopefuls, has been elevated to a ‘Contender.’

That means Westrom will be getting additional tools and support to run his campaign and mentoring from established Republicans already serving in Washington, according to a press release from the NRCC.

The 7th District district is generally conservative, and this year the NRCC has been trying to paint Peterson as out-of-touch with the district.

But pollsters aren’t convinced that Peterson is as vulnerable as the NRCC is making him out to be. For instance, University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato lists the 7th as a “Likely Democratic” as does the Cook Political Report.

Welcome to the Daily Digest.

Minnesota:

MNsure has hired Deloitte to run the health insurance website. (MPR News)

Republicans say that the Legislature has approved a bailout for MNsure. That’s not true. (MPR News)

In general, Democrats had a good first quarter in terms of fundraising. (MPR News)

Mike McFadden is airing the first TV ad of the campaign. (MPR News)

Rocker John Mellencamp is not happy with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. (AP via Pioneer Press)

It’s getting hard to be a snow bird. (The Star Tribune)

Washington:

The New York Times magazine looks at how President Barack Obama decided to support same-sex marriage. (The New York Times)

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is preparing to spend $50 million in support of gun control. The idea is to build a grassroots network of people who want tighter controls – a model that has worked well for gun rights supporters. (The New York Times)

The Supreme Court will consider whether lying in a political campaign is a crime. (AP via Star Tribune)