DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken added $2.1 million to his campaign account during the third quarter and has $3.9 million to spend on his reelection bid, according to Federal Elections Commission filings that became available on Tuesday. Franken’s disclosures put him well ahead of Republican challenger Mike McFadden, who announced his own haul several days prior to the deadline.
As of Tuesday, the remaining five Republican candidates in the race have yet to make an announcement or to submit their fundraising records electronically.
McFadden announced he had collected $700,000 during the July-September window, bringing his overall total to $1.5 million since his announcement in late May. The former investment manager said that he had roughly $1.2 million cash on hand, and called the support his campaign has already received evidence that he was “striking a chord with Minnesotans from every corner of the state.”
In its own announcement, Franken’s campaign said his $1.8 million total came from 37,169 donors, 97 percent of whom donated less than $100. Franken’s campaign spent heavily on fundraising outreach over the summer. The campaign spent about $130,000 with Donor Services Group, a fundraising consulting firm based out of Los Angeles, and another $86,000 for “fundraising services” with Gordon & Schwenkmeyer, also based out of California.
Franken’s account raised $1.8 million from individual donors, and its overall collection for the quarter was in excess of $2 million thanks to $231,000 in transfers the first-term Democrat made from his own “Midwest Values” political action committee.
As might be expected from a screenwriter and actor, Franken’s campaign finance report includes a few well-known names. He took in large donations from celebrities including Jim Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Ted Danson, movie magnate Bob Weinstein and Richard Dean Anderson, the actor best known for his starring role on the television show “MacGyver.” Locally, Franken received contributions from Sam Kaplan, a prominent Minneapolis lawyer and former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, and his wife Sylvia, each of whom whom gave the maximum $5,200.
Franken and McFadden have both faced criticism over their fundraising priorities in recent weeks. McFadden chose not to attend a GOP candidate event, instead holding a campaign fundraiser in St. Paul. That decision drew the attention of the DFL State Party, with chairman Ken Martin accusing the first-time candidate of “demonstrating his indifference toward Minnesota voters.”
Franken, meanwhile, was scheduled to hold a fundraiser event with singer-songwriter Paul Simon in Washington, D.C. Following criticism from McFadden’s campaign, which said Franken should be focused on working to end the federal government shutdown, the DFL incumbent decided to postpone the concert fundraiser until further notice.