Campaign spending accelerates, DFL incumbents keep cash advantage in statewide races

The latest batch of campaign finance reports for Minnesota’s statewide races was released Wednesday.

With Election Day just under six weeks away, campaign spending has kicked into high gear but the latest reports show the DFL-affiliated incumbents still holding a cash advantage for most of the statewide races.

In the race for governor, Gov. Tim Walz’s campaign has raised $4.4 million this year compared to GOP-endorsed candidate Scott Jensen’s $3 million — $583,000 of which came from a public subsidy after Walz opted out of the public financing program. Additionally, Walz’s campaign — which started the year with $3.6 million on hand — has spent $4.6 million this year compared to the Jensen campaign’s $2.8 million.

As of Sept. 20, Walz’s campaign had $3.2 million in cash on hand still while Jensen’s campaign had $864,000.

Since the last public reports just two months ago, Walz’s campaign has raised $1.75 million and spent more than $3.4 million while Jensen’s campaign has received just shy of $2 million and spent $1.6 million.

In the attorney general race, incumbent Keith Ellison has raised $995,000 this year, spent $260,000 and still has $922,000 on hand. His GOP-endorsed opponent, James Schultz, has received $774,000 this year, spent $527,000 and has $321,000 still on hand.

Schultz, in particular, has had a strong past couple of months, raising more than $470,000 since July’s report and spending over $250,000, although Ellison kept pace in fundraising, receiving $450,000 since July’s report, but he spent just under $100,000 in the past two months.

Secretary of State Steve Simon has the largest proportional advantage, with more than eight times as much cash on hand than his GOP-endorsed opponent, Kim Crockett. Simon has raised $798,000 this year, spent $277,000 and has $967,000 in cash on hand. Crockett has raised $286,000, spent $189,000 and has $118,000 on hand.

The race for state auditor is the one where the GOP-endorsed candidate holds the cash advantage.

Wednesday’s reports show Ryan Wilson has outraised incumbent Julie Blaha $351,000 to $197,000. Additionally, Wilson has spent $187,000 this year compared to Blaha’s $148,000, and Wilson still has more than $162,000 in cash on hand while Blaha has $75,000.

The final batch of campaign finance reports is due late next month.