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Independent groups pump money into legislative races

Charley Shaw//October 30, 2012

Independent groups pump money into legislative races

Charley Shaw//October 30, 2012

The six major business-backed spending groups have poured more than $2.6 million worth of independent expenditures into legislative races as of October 22. They appeared poised to finish strong in their bid to preserve Republican control of the state Legislature with $1,520,000 in cash on hand in the campaign finance reports that were released Tuesday morning.

And cash is continuing to pour into the groups’ coffers. The Washington, D.C.,-based Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), which had already contributed $535,000 to the conservative group Minnesota’s Future this month, and added an additional $50,000 contribution this morning.

The five other business groups are the Coalition of Minnesota Businesses, The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Leadership Fund, Pro Jobs Majority, the Minnesota Business Partnership PAC and the Freedom Club State PAC.

The principal outside group on the DFL side, the Alliance for a Better Minnesota [ABM], raised $3 million for the year.

Freedom Club raised the most money and has made the largest single independent expenditures of the campaign. It’s raised $1.55 million in cash for the year and has spent $1.3 million on independent expenditures. Freedom Club, which tends to focus on the conservative wing of the GOP, spent a staggering six figures against DFL challengers in three different races: Jim Carlson in SD 51, John Hoffman in SD 36 and Melisa Franzen in SD 49.

Minnesota’s Future is also a big player with $1,115,000 raised in cash and had $316,771 in the bank as October 22. It’s made $770,000 in independent spending on legislative races.

ABM has spent heavily against first-term Republicans in the suburbs and greater Minnesota. It has also heavily in some GOP-leaning districts. The group has spent $62,409 against Senate Health and Human Services Chairman David Hann in Eden Prairie and $46,322 against Pat Hall a Republican in Apple Valley and Rosemount who’s running for the seat being vacated by Sen. Chris Gerlach, R-Apple Valley.

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