REGIONAL— A flood of individual donations have left Tofte business owner Bill Hansen well out in front in the money race in the District 3A special election. That’s according to campaign finance …
REGIONAL— A flood of individual donations have left Tofte business owner Bill Hansen well out in front in the money race in the District 3A special election. That’s according to campaign finance reports filed by the four DFL candidates this week ahead of the Tuesday primary. The reports include contributions and expenditures through Sept. 15.
Hansen’s report listed $32,978 in individual donations, with no contributions from lobbyists or political action committees.
Hansen’s haul dwarfed that of his nearest rival, Koochiching County Commissioner Rob Ecklund, of International Falls, who reported $9,201 in individual donations. Ecklund also reported a $5,000 personal loan to the campaign and $950 in contributions from lobbyists, the largest being $500 from Gary Cerkvenik’s Costin Group.
In separate reports filed after the deadline, Ecklund reported receiving a $1,000 contribution from the Iron Range Building Trades union, which has harshly attacked Hansen in recent days. Other large last minute contributions pushed Ecklund’s individual donations to $12,201.
International Falls businessman Eric Johnson was well behind, with $2,510 in individual contributions along with a $4,000 loan.
Ely council member Heidi Omerza reported the least fundraising, with individual contributions totaling $2,350. Omerza also reported $550 in contributions from lobbyists, although the report did not list any of the lobbyists who contributed.
Ecklund reported the most expenditures, totaling $7,524 as of the reporting deadline, leaving a cash balance of $12,026 including the late contributions.
Hansen reported expenditures as of the deadline of $5,745, leaving $27,232 in cash on hand.
Johnson reported $4,683 in expenditures, while Omerza had spent $690.
Outside money plays limited role
Campaign finance rules require campaigns to identify all contributors who donate over $200, and that helps the public to see from where candidates are receiving their support.
Of the 43 donors listed on Hansen’s report, who contributed a total of $19,462, 26 (60 percent) live within the district and contributed a total of $10,312, or 53 percent of the total. The rest of the contributions came from elsewhere in Minnesota.
Ecklund’s report lists $4,550 in itemized contributions, including eight contributors. Of those, 60 percent live within the district, although the majority (55 percent) of Ecklund’s listed campaign cash came from outside the district. About a third of his individual contributions came from residents of Tennessee, making Ecklund the only candidate with out-of-state contributions.
Omerza listed three larger contributions, including two from Ely and one from elsewhere in Minnesota. Johnson reported no large contributions.
While Hansen was expected to show strength along the North Shore, his fundraising in the Ely area was particularly strong, comprising a third of his listed contributors and $5,357, or 28 percent, of his listed cash contributions. Contributors from the Tower-Soudan area contributed $1,250 to Hansen’s campaign. Omerza reported two contributions from Ely, totaling $1,000, and was the only other candidate to list donations from the Ely area.
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