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Spending on SD 33 GOP primary contest easily topped $100,000

Paul Demko//September 26, 2012

Spending on SD 33 GOP primary contest easily topped $100,000

Paul Demko//September 26, 2012

Connie Doepke (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

The tightly contested Senate District 33 GOP primary contest between state Rep. Connie Doepke and David Osmek was an expensive affair. Osmek prevailed by just 107 votes in the race to replace retiring Sen. Gen Olson in a solidly GOP district.

Business-focused GOP spending groups were split in the race. The Freedom Club State PAC, which was founded by a group of Minnesota CEOs in the 1990s, spent roughly $55,000 on mailings, web ads and a billboard trying to defeat Doepke, who served two terms in the House. Roughly $35,000 of that money was spent attacking Doepke, while just over $20,000 was spent backing Osmek.

But Doepke received significant financial backing from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s Pro Jobs Majority PAC, which spent $23,000 supporting her candidacy. The Twin West Chamber of Commerce PAC spent $4,000 backing her effort.

Doepke’s campaign raised roughly $43,000. That’s more than three times the pre-primary haul that Osmek reported.

Osmek was the GOP-endorsed candidate and painted Doepke as insufficiently conservative for the western suburban district. Those numbers don’t provide a full financial picture of what was the most expensive primary contest in the state. That’s because nonprofit issue advocacy groups, like Americans for Prosperity, which spent money attacking Doepke, aren’t required to report their expenditures.

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