Cherryhomes gets infusion of PAC cash

Deep-pocketed supporters of Minneapolis mayoral candidate Jackie Cherryhomes have a new place to send their checks.

A political action committee calling itself Minneapolis Forward filed papers yesterday with Hennepin County.

Jim Bernstein (MPR File Photo/Michael Khoo)

“This is a very competitive race and it does take money to get Jackie’s message out to voters,” committee chair Jim Bernstein wrote in response to an e-mail inquiry from MPR News.

Cherryhomes’ fundraising has lagged many other leading candidates.

As of late August she’d pulled in just over $100,000, close to a third of which came out of her own pocket. Mark Andrew, Betsy Hodges and Dan Cohen each raised more than $200,000.

While contributions to Minneapolis mayoral campaigns are capped at $500 per donor, political action committees face no such limits.

PACs are forbidden from coordinating with a campaign, but they often exist solely to support a single candidate. Andrew and Hodges each have PAC backing already.

Bernstein served on the Minneapolis Charter Commission for 11 years ending in 2010, when a Hennepin County judge declined to reappoint him as chair. News accounts at the time noted the judge had been supplied with a Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling against Bernstein.

The court found he’d violated state campaign laws during his 2005 run for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Park Board Commissioner Bob Fine, who prevailed in the case, also won the election. He is one of the 35 candidates now running for mayor.

Bernstein served as state commerce commissioner under Independence Party Gov. Jesse Ventura. Karen Collier, who is listed as the PAC’s treasurer, has also been active in the Independence Party.

Cherryhomes is a DFLer and former president of the Minneapolis City Council. Bernstein says he’s known her since they studied political science together at Augsburg College in the 1970s.