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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Hansen leads by wide margin in money race

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 9/22/15

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 …

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Hansen leads by wide margin in money race


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.


5 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • Wondering how much of Hanson's money comes from out of the area environmentalists?

    Thursday, September 24, 2015 Report this

  • Shaking my head

    Most of Hansen's campaign cash is likely from twin cities tourists. Rabid,radical, anti-mining environmentalists who despise mining. As a laid-off steelworker, I will NOT be voting for Hansen!

    Friday, September 25, 2015 Report this

  • snowshoe2

    It looks from info above, the percent of funds from outside the district were about the same for most if not all candidates.

    More important it looks like overall all the candidates were pretty civil in the debate to each other. That is good.

    Friday, September 25, 2015 Report this

  • jtormoen

    Snowshoe 2 ... you cheated regarding the money sources ... you read the article.

    Not fair.

    Friday, September 25, 2015 Report this

  • snowshoe2

    I heard there might be a pop quiz.

    Boy I use to hate classes in school when the teacher would give one of those and I never did my homework that day.

    Saturday, September 26, 2015 Report this