Tom Emmer has tapped into a network of conservative donors that aligned behind his 2010 gubernatorial campaign to give himself a commanding lead over other candidates in 6th Congressional District fundraising. Campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission Monday show Emmer outraised his two Republican competitors by several times over, with $225,000 collected over the last three weeks in June.
Emmer’s advantage over Sen. John Pederson, R-St. Cloud, and Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah is partly a function of timing. The former state legislator from Delano was the first to make a public announcement that he was seeking the seat that will be left empty by Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, who announced in May that she would not seek reelection in 2014. But Emmer made good use of that time, and his own connections: His campaign spent about $3,700 to “rent” a donor list from the Emmer for Governor campaign, allowing him to access a collection of generous Republican boosters.
Among the familiar names appearing on his contribution list are Bob Cummins, founder and CEO of Primera Technology, and his wife Joan Cummins, each of whom maxed-out their federal giving with $5,200 to Emmer for Congress. Emmer also reported a $2,600 donation from media magnate Stanley Hubbard. Another set of donations came from state legislators who are backing Emmer’s candidacy: Rep. David FitzSimmons, R-Albertville, gave $2,405; Rep. Jerry Hertaus, R-Greenfield, gave $2,600; and Sen. Karin Housley, R-St Marys Point, who is serving as Emmer’s campaign chair, contributed $2,000.
Emmer spent relatively little during his first weeks campaigning, and reported $225,000 cash on hand. His campaign also has about $12,000 in outstanding debt, all of it owed to Plymouth-based Civis Communications for fundraising consulting.
Emmer’s total haul and cash on hand put him well in front of Pederson, who disclosed $35,000 in donations. Though he filed his candidacy paperwork on June 26, he took in contributions throughout the month of June. Notable among Pederson’s donor list is Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, and her ex-husband Tom Rosen, each of whom contributed $1,800. Pederson kept almost all of his money banked, and carried more than $32,000 over to the third quarter.
Sivarajah’s total of $19,066 seems to have come entirely from a pair of fundraising events during the last week in June. Among her donors is Harold Hamilton, founder of the Coon Rapids company Micro Control, and his wife Elanor Hamilton, who both gave $5,200. In an announcement timed to follow her FEC disclosure, Sivarajah said Hamilton had agreed to serve as finance chair of her campaign committee. Perhaps aiming to explain the gulf between her figures and Emmer’s, Sivarjah went on to write that the campaign “would not be a short race.”
“It will be a long, hard-fought campaign with significant issues and contrasts presented to the voters of the district,” Sivarajah wrote. “Our campaign is building momentum and we look forward to staying in touch throughout the summer.”