See more of the story

Major Democratic-aligned groups in Minnesota have raised and spent significantly more than their Republican counterparts on state elections so far this year.

Nine of the 10 organizations that raised the most in 2020 are affiliated with Democrats. The nine groups collectively took in about $12.3 million, while the Senate Victory Fund — the lone GOP group in that top tier of fundraisers — netted $773,161, according to Campaign Finance Board data filed ahead of the Aug. 11 primary.

The DFL Party's State Central Committee has used the most money of any group, with its expenses tallying $2.2 million. The Republican Party of Minnesota spent $307,903. The data only include expenditures of $200 or more.

"The Minnesota DFL is the only big-money party in Minnesota, relying on the 1% donors, public union employees and its legislative caucuses for financial support," GOP Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan said in a statement.

Campaign Finance Board reports focus on state elections, not federal. But Carnahan said between state and federal contributions, her party has received 20,000 individual low-dollar contributions this year. She said that shows the Republican Party's strength statewide.

State DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin countered that Democrats' fundraising is the result of "tremendous enthusiasm and momentum." But the in-state financial advantage should not make people complacent, he said, noting that President Donald Trump is flooding Minnesota with $14.1 million in TV ads before the November general election.

All the Minnesota Senate and House seats are up for election in the fall. Republicans now hold a slim majority in the Senate, and Democrats have control of the House by a wider margin.

The Senate Victory Fund, which is working to ensure Republicans maintain control of the chamber, has spent $509,610 this year. However, the group has nearly $2.4 million left in the bank — more than double the roughly $1 million the DFL Senate Senate Caucus has on hand.

In the battle for the House, the DFL caucus reported significantly more cash on hand. It has $954,306 in its account, while the Republican committee has $515,124.

Republican candidates received more money from independent expenditure committees and funds. Those groups can accept donations from corporations, while general purpose committees — such as the DFL State Central Committee or Senate Victory Fund — cannot.

The national group Make Liberty Win, which describes itself as defending the Constitution, spent the most of any independent expenditure committee in Minnesota so far. It gave a total of $93,675 to three GOP candidates: Rep. Jeremy Munson of Lake Crystal, Erik Mortensen of Shakopee and Marianne Stebbins of Mound.

Correction: The story originally stated that Minnesota Senate GOP candidate Greg Pulles had raised the most of any state candidate committee. DFL candidate for Senate District 33, Gretchen Piper, has raised the most in 2020.


Thursday: The last day the Secretary of State recommends voters mail in absentee ballots to ensure they are postmarked by the Aug. 11 primary election and received within two days afterward.