One tool for understanding political party units is to examine their fundraising and spending. With the special election to fill the House District 3A seat left vacant by the untimely death of Representative David Dill turning into a free-for-all, we thought we'd look at the financial health of the local DFL senate district.
As we reported in Go Fish: SD DFL chair changes mind on 3A endorsing convention; Bill Hansen responds and Iron (Range) Throne: Details emerge on SD3 DFL chair's cancellation of endorsing convention, the Senate District chair Paul Fish cancelled the Democratic endorsing convention which was to be called. The decision came after the candidates had been told of a convention in Ely, the Tower Timberjay reported in DFL endorsing convention abruptly canceled; Some DFL officials see Range politicians, mining politics, behind the move.
After a kind reader suggested that we look at the finances of the SD3 DFL, we concluded that money had certainly been no object, since the senate district committee had finished the tumultuous 2014 campaign season with over $9200 in the bank.
Even more curious: of the $84,750 given to DFL candidates from 2012 through 2014, only $9500--all in 2014--went to Minnesota state house campaign committees--and the late Rep. David Dill's campaign committee received $7500.00 of that figure. (By contrast, MN3B DFL incumbent Mary Murphy received only $500. Both candidates won by garnering over 60 percent of the vote).
The rest of the money sent to DFL House candidates went to people running in districts adjoining the Third: Joe Radinovich ($500), Jennifer Schultz ($250), Erik Simonson ($250) and John Ward (500).
The rest? Sent to to state senate Democrats around the state. although there no no state senators on the ballot.
In 2013, the SD3 DFL gave $14,800 to 11 senate candidates who weren't on the ballot; of this amount, $4500 went to Majority Leader Bakk's campaign. In 2012, when all state senate and house seats were up for election and Bakk was looking to flip the senate, the committee cut $40,750 in checks to DFL candidates around the state. All of this went to Senate candidates, including $5000 to Senator Bakk.
The committee also gave $5000 to the DFL Senate Caucus in 2012 and $10,000 in 2013. The state DFL received $2000 in 2012, nothing in 2013 and $1000 in 2014. (These totals are entered in a different section of the report and are in addition to the contributions to candidate campaign committees.
This pattern of giving is unusual for DFL senate districts that give money to candidates, in that senate and county units ordinarily give to candidates within their borders--or give to candidates in a variety of state-level candidates.
We'll have more analysis later in the week, but the giving patterns suggest that the contributions are tied to Bakk's leadership in the Minnesota Senate.
Here's the 2012 Senate District 3 year-end campaign finance report:
Here's the 2013 Senate District 3 year-end campaign finance report:
Here's the 2014 Senate District 3 year-end campaign finance report:
See our earlier posts on the race:
Screengrab: From the TPT Almanac vault.
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