It Pays to be the Incumbent

Congressional campaigns’ finance reports for the last quarter were released recently, and in Minnesota incumbents are racking up huge advantages.


In CD1 incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Walz is currently pursuing the DFL nomination for governor. Walz’s challenger in both the 2014 and 2016 elections, Jim Hagedorn, leads the fundraising push for the district.

Hagedorn raised $78,604 in the last three months, and currently has nearly $194,000 cash on hand. He won 49.3 percent of the vote against Walz in 2016. Meanwhile, DFL candidate Vicki Jensen lost her Minnesota Senate seat in 2016, and has raised $16,845.


In CD2 incumbent U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis is the runaway leader with roughly $218,000 raised in the past three months. The first term congressman sits at over $400,000 cash on hand currently.

On the DFL side, Angie Craig, Lewis’ 2016 opponent, is seeking a rematch as of yesterday. She reported no income in the last three months, though her challenger for the DFL nod this time around did. Rosemount High School teacher and football coach Jeff Erdmann collected $29,248 over the last quarter.


U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen won a very expensive bid for a fifth term against former State. Sen. Terri Bonoff in 2016, taking 56.7 percent of the vote. Paulsen collected nearly $566,000 in the last three months, and has over $986,000 in cash on hand with nearly 16 months until the election. This is the most of any congressional candidate in Minnesota.

On the DFL side, liquor heir Dean Phillips has raised nearly as much as Paulsen in the last three months, despite only formally launching his campaign in early May. Phillips raised just under $534,000, and has just over $433,000 in cash on hand. Adam Jennings, another DFL candidate, raised $59,000 since March 23, and has just under $46,000 on hand.


Incumbent U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum is running away with the fundraising game in this safely Democratic district. While she raised just a hair over $69,000, she also has $124,000 in the bank. Her 2016 challenger Greg Ryan has maintained his campaign account from last year, but has taken in just $125 in the last three months, barely contributing to his current total of $1,685 in cash on hand.


No Republican candidate is on record to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. and DNC Vice Chair Keith Ellison as of yet. In the last three months he has raised $367,306 and now has over $519,000 on hand.


Incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer raised just over $292,000 in the last month, and now has over $484,000 in cash on hand. On the DFL side, air force veteran Ian Todd has raised just $75.


In CD7, incumbent U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson raised $132,270 over the last month, and now has more than $794,000 in cash on hand.

Peterson’s 2016 challenger Dave Hughes took 47.4 percent of the vote last year, and he has raised just $1,536 over the last three months. Hughes currently has just over $40,000 in cash on hand, which gives him an edge over his opponent in the primary, State Rep. Tim Miller. Miller raised $29,475 in the quarter, and has $28,925 on hand.


Just 2,072 votes separated incumbent U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan from his challenger Stewart Mills in 2016. FEC reports show Nolan is currently without a challenger. Mills has not committed to a third attempt to unseat the six-term congressman. Nolan raised $192,322 in the last three months, to settle at $395,530 in cash on hand.

Anders Koskinen