Before primary, Honour has cash advantage

With only two weeks to go before a four-way primary between Republican candidates for governor, Orono businessman Scott Honour has the cash advantage.

Honour has raised about $1.16 million since the start of the year, and has about $542,000 in cash.

Most of his money is coming from out-of-state supporters, many who reside in California where Honour lived until recently.

Honour also loaned himself $500,000 earlier this month. That’s on top of the $300,000 the former investment banker has already given his campaign.

Meanwhile, Minnesota House Rep. Kurt Zellers has more than $145,000 in cash.

GOP endorsed candidate Jeff Johnson comes in third with more than $122,000 in cash. However, he also has the backing of Minnesota’s Republican party, which comes with office space, phone banks, volunteers and an additional fundraising structure. The party has more than $267,000 in its state fundraising to support Johnson in the lead-up to the primary.

Finally, Marty Seifert has $71,000 in the bank.

Gov. Mark Dayton has nearly as much cash on hand as all his potential opponents combined, with $847,000 to spend on the upcoming election.

Still, Dayton says his fundraising has been lackluster in part because he has no clear GOP opponent.

“Until I have an opponent, we can really start to draw a contrast between what that person advocates and what I do, it’s lagging a bit. Starting on Aug. 13, it will definitely reintensify,” Dayton said.

While Dayton may be disappointed with his fundraising, his supporters are in good financial shape compared to Republicans.

The Minnesota DFL has an additional $581,000 in the bank to help Dayton and other DFL candidates win their elections.

Dayton is also getting a boost from the Alliance for a Better Minnesota. The liberal organization, which is backed financially by an array of DFL donors and unions, has already spent nearly $33,700 targeting Dayton’s four potential opponents. The group plans to spend an additional $116,000 on an ad touting Dayton’s accomplishments during his first four years in office.

Meanwhile, a group called the Freedom Club has been helping the Republican candidates by running negative ads against Dayton. According to the group’s latest finance report, it has at least $455,600 in the bank and has spent more than $500,000 on advertising.

Tom Scheck contributed to this report.