Bluestem skipped over the tear-stained melodrama of Politics.mn's Turmoil in GOP Reaches Boiling Point to get to the money shot:
. . . The [party] offices are paid for by the 8th Congressional District Republicans and not the Republican Party of Minnesota.
The 8th Congressional District Republicans are currently focused on supporting Stewart Mills in his battle against Congressman Rick Nolan. . . .
That certainly seemed interesting, since recent political news had told of both parties opening offices across the state. On June 19, the Strib's Rachel Stassen Berger reported in Minn. DFL, GOP lay out state field office strategy:
State GOP Chairman Keith Downey held a press conference on Thursday to lay out some of his party's plans for spreading its message around Minnesota. Republicans plan to open 20 field offices, or what they are calling "victory centers," throughout Minnesota.
The party already has offices set up in Rochester, Woodbury, Mankato, St. Cloud, Marshall, Eagan, Golden Valley, Blaine, Waconia and Bloomington. Downey said the party was on track to open offices in Bemidji, Grand Rapids, North Branch, Duluth and Brainerd in the coming weeks.
For Republicans, the breadth of field offices is a significant expansion. Downey said two years ago the party had just one office in each of the state's eight congressional districts.
This year, the party needs to start its fight earlier -- Republican endorsed gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson will have to survive a four-way August primary before he could face Dayton in November.
"Every single one of these victory offices will be working to make sure that Jeff Johnson will be successful in the primary and in the general election," said Republican Party Deputy Chair Chris Fields.
But as we turn to the monthly fundraising reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission--and state semi-annual reports due last month--by the Republican Party of Minnesota and the Eighth Congressional District Republican Party Of Minnesota, we find that the offices are indeed paid for the CD8 committee.
The committee started the year with $11765.13 in the bank, took in $102,945.20, spent $28042.55 on federal expenditures, gave Stewart Mills III campaign $5000 and reported having $69,902.65 in the bank at the end of June according to the committee's July monthly report.
Nothing was spent on the "Nonfederal Share" in the "Shared Federal/Nonfederal Activity" category.
Who gave to the committee? The committee received $5,840.00 in small contributions, so most of the money is coming from deep pockets. Dennis Frandsen of North Branch, maxed out at $10,000 in June, as did Brainerd area business man Arnold Johnson and Stewart Mills III's mother Sandra Mills. That's $30,000.
In May, the candidate gave the committee $8,000, while his wife Heather and father Stewart each maxed out at $10,000. Guy Smith (a Wisconsin electrical engineer on board with the new Mills Fleet Farm going up in Mankato) and his wife, a homemaker, each gave $10,000. That's $48,000 from Mills family members and business associates in May alone.
That's $58,000 from the Mills family and business associates. Another $20,000 from two additional donors. It's a relatively deep pool as far as a congressional committee goes in Minnesota, but not terribly broad.
The office renting activity began in April, according to the May report, which notes space $157.73 reimbursement for office space in Virginia. The June report includes $1300 for security deposit and one month's rent for an office in Hermantown, the $157.73 eumbursement for space in Virginia, MN, $927.45 in insurance for the offices, $1600 for a security deposit and rent for an office in North Branch, and $750.00 for office space in Baxter.
Other spending includes payroll of $2222.72 via Paychex of New York LLC. Total federal spending (the only spending) is $8613.33 for the month.
The July report shows $13,651.25 in spending, with a new expense of 760.00 for an office in Grand Rapids. Rent continues to go out for the offices in Baxter, Hermantown, North Branch and Virginia. Workers comp and property insurance gets paid, along with what looks like two staffers via Paychex.
Connectivist Media of Milwaukee--run by two Republican social media operatives --scored a cool $2441.06 for phones and internet at the Hermantown office.
It won't be possible to see how the 8th Congressional District RPM state level committee is getting and spending until the First Report of Receipts and Expenditures for the period covered: 1/1 through 7/21/2014 is received by the due date of July 28 at the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.
Until then, it's not hard to see one reason why the CD Eight Republicans' focus is on Stewart Mills campaign. The Mills family and friends are collectively paying the bills.
Whatever the drama going on between the state and congressional district party may be, the fortunes of the CD8 GOP are drawn in sharp contrast with that of the other congressional district where there's supposed to be hot congressional race. In CD7--where State Senator Torrey Westrom is challenging incumbent congressman Collin Peterson--the CD7 Republicans' federal committee took in $1840.00 between January 1 and June 30, 201, spent $1338.00 and now enjoys $968.17 Cash on hand.
Photo: Stewart Mills III, endorsed MNCD8 Republican candidate. He's trying to unseat DFL Congressman Rick Nolan.
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