Fundraising numbers, new candidate enliven 6th District race

The race to succeed Rep. Michele Bachmann came into sharper relief last week, with Republican candidates revealing their financial standings and DFL contenders starting to surface.

Four Republican candidates gave a snapshot of their campaign finances in the race in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, which includes the St. Cloud area. Bachmann isn’t seeking a fifth term in the district.

The fundraising numbers show the candidate initially deemed the frontrunner, 2010 Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer, remains in a strong position. But they show the other Republican hopefuls — former state Rep. Phil Krinkie, St. Cloud state Sen. John Pederson and Anoka County Board chair Rhonda Sivarajah — can’t be discounted.

Meanwhile, a DFL candidate, Avon college professor Jim Read, joined the 6th District race. Another DFLer, Sartell Mayor Joe Perske, gave his strongest signal yet that he’ll join the fray.

Fundraising numbers, while not giving a full measure of a race, are a point-in-time indicator of which candidates are garnering support from their party’s base, as well as which have the resources to spread their message in coming months.

That could matter more quickly than usual this cycle in the event of a GOP primary in the 6th District. Of the four Republican candidates who’ve announced so far, only Emmer has pledged to abide by the Republican endorsement.

Emmer comfortably led the Republican pack in contributions raised from donors from July through September. He raised about $152,000 in that period, compared to about $52,000 for Pederson, about $40,000 for Krinkie and about $30,000 for Sivarajah.

But Krinkie and Sivarajah were willing to self-finance to jumpstart their campaigns. Krinkie loaned his campaign $300,000 and Sivarajah loaned hers $150,000.

The loans help Krinkie and Sivarajah offset their contribution deficits vis-á-vis Emmer, making them competitive in the amount they had in the bank at the close of the quarter. Krinkie told the Associated Press he had at least $300,000 on hand at the end of the third quarter. Emmer had nearly $275,000 on hand, followed by Sivarajah with about $184,000 and Pederson with about $40,000.

Read’s entrance into the race enlivens what had been a nearly nonexistent race among DFLers in the 6th District.

Circle Pines activist Judy Adams previously had been the only Democrat to announce her candidacy. After announcing her campaign in June, Adams has yet to create a campaign committee or establish a presence online or in social media.

Read, a political science professor at College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University, ran for state House in 1992 and lost by 98 votes. He penned a book about the experience: “Doorstep Democracy: Face-to-Face Politics in the Heartland.”

While announcing his candidacy, Read vowed to push Republican candidates on whether they support the tactics of tea party members of Congress who backed a government shutdown in the absence of concessions from President Barack Obama on his signature health care law.

Read’s entrance into the race seemed to spark Perske’s interest. Hours after Read’s announcement, Perske, the first-term Sartell mayor, said for the first time that he’s “likely” to be a candidate.

Keep up with Central Minnesota politics in The Political Quarry, www.sctimes.com/politicalquarry. Follow Mark Sommerhauser on Twitter @msommerhauser and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sctimesmark.

Mark Sommerhauser

About Mark Sommerhauser

Greetings! I cover state and some federal politics for the St. Cloud Times. Before this, I worked the political beat at the Winona Daily News.
Follow Mark Sommerhauser at https://twitter.com/msommerhauser
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