2 DFLers out front on U.S. Senate money chase

Minnesota’s two U.S. senators, both Democrats, posted big fundraising numbers for the first part of 2018. But so did one of the Republican candidates trying to snag a seat.

Two-term Sen. Amy Klobuchar scooped $1.23 million, according to her campaign, and now has $6 million built up for a race where she is the heavy favorite.

Her only announced challenger, state Rep. Jim Newberger, R-Becker, has yet to report his fundraising for the first three months of the year, but he entered the year with $13,000 in his account. A spokesperson didn’t immediately return a call Friday.

The deadline to file campaign reports falls this weekend.

The other Senate race is tighter on the cash front.

Sen. Tina Smith, who was appointed in January to replace Al Franken when he resigned, reported raising $1.84 million from January through March. But in a news release, she didn’t say how much she had in the bank.

Her main Republican rival, state Sen. Karin Housley, R-St Marys Point, said Friday that she raised about $514,000 in the three-month period and had $500,000 left as of April 1.

It’s the first time since 1978 when both Senate seats are on the same ballot.