Money showers Minnesota U.S. House races

Minnesota’s congressional candidates were sitting on a combined $11 million at the start of July, a flavor of the competitive nature of the state’s U.S. House seats and a foretaste of the ad barrage to come.

Minnesota has eight seats in the U.S. House. All but two or three will get national attention this year for different reasons.

While several candidates posted impressive fundraising hauls over the three months covered by reports due over the weekend, the amount they have leftover is a vital statistic as the races move into the final months.

Here is a rundown.

1st Congressional District:

DFL Rep. Tim Walz is leaving the southern Minnesota district seat open as he makes a bid for governor.

DFL endorsed candidate Dan Feehan, who is making his first run for public office, had the most money saved up with about $632,0000. Feehan has a primary opponent in Colin Minehart, who terminated his fundraising committee in February.

On the Republican side, Jim Hagedorn is the endorsed candidate and has run several times for the seat. He had roughly $390,000 in the bank at the end of June. State Sen. Carla Nelson of Rochester is vying for the GOP nomination in next month’s primary; she was just shy of the $100,000 mark in available cash.

2nd Congressional District:

In a rematch of 2016 rivals, challenger Angie Craig is out front in the cash department.

Craig, a DFLer, reported to the Federal Election Commission that she had more than $1.55 million stocked up. Incumbent Republican Rep. Jason Lewis, trailed with $1.28 million in the bank.

The district is a mix of suburbs and rural areas from south of St. Paul and along the Mississippi River.

3rd Congressional District:

This is shaping up as the costliest battle when only the candidates are factored in. (In several of these races, outside groups will loom large.)

GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen, in search of a sixth term, had $2.8 million at his disposal. Paulsen is already running television commercials at a time when most other campaigns aren’t.

But DFL challenger Dean Phillips, a first-time candidate, can tap into the $923,000 he has left after expenses. His campaign is making a big deal of the unusual approach in today’s environment: None of his contributions have come from political action committees.

4th Congressional District:

DFL Rep. Betty McCollum is the heavy favorite to win a 10th term in a St. Paul-area district with a long Democratic voting pattern. She had about $250,000 at the ready.

A report for Republican challenger Greg Ryan, who also ran two years ago, had yet to appear. But he entered April with less than $2,000 in reserve.

5th Congressional District:

DFL Rep. Keith Ellison announced in June he would give up the seat to run for a suddenly open attorney general’s post. That set off a scramble to succeed him in the Democratic stronghold centered in Minneapolis.

A three-way contest has emerged for the DFL nomination, which will be decided in the Aug. 14 primary. The winner of that race will be regarded as the November frontrunner.

State Rep. Ilhan Omar has a nominal lead in cash in the bank, with $150,000. Former Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher is next with $128,000. State Sen. Patricia Torres Ray is further back with $45,000.

Republican-endorsed candidate Jennifer Zielinski has $3,200.

For his part, Ellison still has $250,000 in his congressional fund, which he can’t use to support his attorney general run.

6th Congressional District:

In Minnesota’s most strongly Republican district, two-term Rep. Tom Emmer has little reason to sweat. He has built up $871,000 he can deploy if he does feel worried in his central Minnesota district or to drive up turnout for the rest of the GOP ticket.

Emmer’s DFL opponent, Ian Todd, entered July just shy of $4,000 in his account.

7th Congressional District:

The delegation’s dean is Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, who is running for a 15th term. He’s never been more flush with more than $1.2 million stockpiled.

His western Minnesota district is fertile ground for Republicans given President Donald Trump’s following there, but Peterson’s seat so far is not among the nation’s most-targeted contests.

Republican David Hughes, who lost to Peterson two years ago, is running again. His campaign balance was about $29,000 at the start of the month.

8th Congressional District:

The northeastern Minnesota district will be home to a top-tier fall race once the ticket is set. Incumbent Rep. Rick Nolan is stepping aside to run for lieutenant governor.

Pete Stauber is the anticipated Republican nominee, and at this stage the candidate with the most cash at $414,000.

Democrats have more uncertainty heading into the August primary, which will decide a four-way race for that nomination.

Former state Rep. Joe Radinovich had the money lead at the start of July with about $146,000. State Rep. Jason Metsa was close behind with $125,000. Trailing them were former TV anchor Michelle Lee with a tad more than $16,000 and North Branch Mayor Kirsten Kennedy with $3,300.

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