New Record for 'Outside Spending' on Minnesota House Races

October 17, 2018 06:41 PM

With nearly three weeks to go before Election Day, outside special interest groups have already spent a record amount of money in Minnesota. This week, the outside spending surpassed $27 million, more than the record $26.9 million spent in the entire 2016 election cycle.

"Money is attracted to competitive races and we're right in the middle of that," said Steven Schier, a political scientist from Carleton College. "I think money is going to Minnesota because the polling on both sides that we don't see publicly shows a lot of competition, particularly in the congressional races."


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A review of outside spending records at shows a pronounced increase in spending on Minnesota's U.S. House races. In 2008, just $5.7 million was spent in the state. That figure jumps to $21.9 million in 2014 and now to more than $27 million.

Schier said it shows Minnesota's political landscape continues to undergo dramatic changes.

"Minnesota is moving in two different directions," he says. "The metro's becoming more liberal and even more Democratic, particularly in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Greater Minnesota's moving in a Republican direction and so the parties want to take advantage of those trends and a lot of money's coming in."

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Figures show more than half the outside money spent so far this year is coming from the Republican and Democratic parties. The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), aligned with House Republican leadership, leads the pack at $6.7 million. The CLF is followed by the National Republican Congressional Committee at $5.6 million and $4.7 million from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at $4.7 million.

Even though tens of millions of dollars in outside money has been spent on Minnesota's closely contested Congressional races, it's a different story with the two U.S. Senate races.  Below is the amount of outside money spent on the two Senate races and a look back at the outside spending in the 2008 U.S. Senate race.



Tom Hauser

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