DFL incumbents maintain cash advantage in statewide races

Minnesota’s Democratic incumbents continue to maintain and grow their financial advantages over their challengers in the upcoming election for three statewide seats.

The latest campaign finance reports show that since Jan. 1, Democratic Gov. Tim Walz’s campaign has raised $2.66 million compared to Republican Scott Jensen’s $1.02 million. But their campaign expenditures are very similar, with Walz’s spending at $1.17 million and Jensen at $1.20 million.

The governor also has a significant advantage in cash on hand, totaling $4.98 million compared to Jensen’s $580,000.

In just over a month, Walz’s campaign has raised around $870,000 compared to Jensen’s $550,000. Meanwhile, Jensen’s campaign has spent twice as much as Walz’s in the past month, $600,000 vs. $300,000. That leaves Jensen with around $80,000 less in cash on hand than he had last month while Walz has gained around $530,000.

Those trends are similar in other state races, such as for attorney general and secretary of state.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a Democrat, lists just over $540,000 in campaign revenue since Jan. 1, compared to Republican-endorsed challenger James Schultz, who has raised $299,000. Doug Wardlow, who challenged Ellison in the 2018 election but failed to get the Republican endorsement this year, continues to run for the office and has reported $255,000 in campaign revenue.

Ellison’s challengers have also spent more than he has, with Ellison’s campaign having just shy of $166,000 in campaign expenditures since Jan. 1, compared to $271,000 for Schultz and $240,000 for Wardlow.

And, like the governor’s race, the incumbent attorney general has a significant advantage in cash on hand. According to the latest campaign finance reports, Ellison has more than $572,000 on hand compared to $113,000 for Schultz and $34,000 for Wardlow.

In just over a month, Ellison raised around $148,000, spent about $57,000 and gained approximately $67,000 in cash on hand. In the same time, Schultz has raised about $141,000, spent around $130,000 and gained around $3,000 in cash on hand while Wardlow has raised approximately $50,000, spent $46,000 and stayed even in cash on hand.

Meanwhile, Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat, has outraised his Republican challenger Kim Crockett, $405,000 to $137,000. He’s also outspent Crockett, $177,000 to $81,000 but still holds a large advantage in cash on hand, with nearly $679,000 compared to Crockett’s nearly $77,000.

In a little over a month, Simon has raised around $176,000 vs. Crockett’s $45,000; outspent her $96,000 to $32,000; and raised his cash on hand by $121,000 — a full $100,000 more than Crockett in the same time period.

The race for state auditor is the one where the incumbent seems to be at a disadvantage.

Incumbent Julie Blaha has raised $68,000 since Jan. 1, while her Republican challenger Ryan Wilson has raised $173,000. Wilson has also outspent Blaha, $80,000 to $62,000 and holds an advantage in cash on hand, $91,000 to Blaha’s nearly $32,000.

Since the start of June, Wilson has raised around $85,000 compared to Blaha’s $26,000, outspent her $43,000 to $18,000, and still significantly increased his cash on hand, gaining approximately $40,000 in the time Blaha has gained $9,000.

Despite the gap in funding in the other races, the Republican challengers in each race have maintained confidence in their abilities to reach and connect with voters.