Millions of dollars in outside money are flowing into Minnesota in the closing days of the campaign.
Final pre-election campaign finance reports were released Tuesday, covering the period of Sept. 20 to Oct. 24. Notices of large contributions made after that date are published on the Campaign Finance Board’s website.
Republican Dr. Scott Jensen narrowly outraised Gov. Tim Walz in the closing month of the campaign, $1.37 million to $1.26 million. Walz, however, has $721,000 available compared to Jensen’s $338,000.
Jensen has raised $5.5 million this cycle while the incumbent has put up a $9.3 million total.
Jensen’s campaign said it is surpassing the Republican fundraising records set by former Gov. Tim Pawlenty during his reelection bid.
The only other Republican to outraise his opponent was Ryan Wilson, who took in $108,000 to State Auditor Julie Blaha’s $52,000. Blaha has more cash on hand.
Attorney General Keith Ellison and Secretary of State Steve Simon both outraised their opponents and have more cash available.
However, the real money is spent by outside independent expenditure groups. Minnesota for Freedom, the local conduit for the Republican Attorneys General Association, has spent $2 million since mid-September helping Ellison’s opponent, Jim Schultz. In that same time, the Democratic Attorneys General Association has spent $1.7 million to bolster Ellison’s campaign.
The Democratic Governors Association has funneled $6.6 million through local juggernaut Alliance for a Better Minnesota, which has now spent $13 million against Jensen.
The Republican Governors Association (RGA) is making a last-minute play for Minnesota with a $750,000 ad buy to help Jensen. More money could be on the way.
In the secretary of state’s race, American Principles Project has spent $560,000 to boost Republican Kim Crockett. A group called Safe Accessible Fair Elections has spent $3.2 million helping Simon since mid-September alone.
The money hasn’t stopped flowing since the filing deadline. According to an analysis from the House Republican Campaign Committee, Democratic donors have sent another $1.9 million to Minnesota since Oct. 25. Republican groups have received about $1.2 million, including the RGA’s $750,000.
Despite the cash advantage, recent polling shows Democrats are in serious danger of losing their first statewide election since 2006, and some experts believe Republicans could pick up as many as three statewide wins.