Both of the Minnesota congressional Republicans seeking reelection have turned in their third-quarter fundraising reports, and the bottom-line results should be sufficient to guarantee an uphill battle to any Democratic challengers. Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen, now seeking a sixth term representing the 3rd Congressional District, raised $376,000 from the beginning of July through the end of September, and has $1.5 million cash on hand.
In the 2nd Congressional District, six-term Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline reported slightly less on both counts, with $367,000 raised last quarter and about $1.3 million in his campaign fund.
Unlike Paulsen, Kline already has officially declared DFL challengers, including former state Rep. Mike Obermueller, who last year lost to Kline by 8 percent.Also running as Democrats in the 2nd are a pair of former Obermueller campaign volunteers, both from Eagan: Thomas Craft and Paula Overby. None of the DFL candidates’ third-quarter reports were available as of Tuesday morning.
Both districts are viewed as competitive by national Democratic strategists, and Paulsen and Kline have been targeted in a government shutdown-related online advertising campaign launched by House Majority PAC, a Democratic campaign organization. National GOP figures apparently don’t share the same sentiment: Of Kline’s spending during the quarter, $27,000 was a “transfer of excess” funds to the National Republican Congressional Caucus (NRCC), which operates Republican elections strategies nationwide.
As usual, Paulsen received a good chunk of his donations from individuals and political committees tied to the medical technology field. Included in his most recent report are a $1,000 donation from the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science and $2,500 from Life Technologies Corp. employees. Paulsen has also been one of the most outspoken critics of the medical device tax passed as part of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, which some insiders say could be repealed as part of a deal to end the shutdown.
In an interview with Politico, Paulsen denied the suggestion that his opposition to the tax was influenced by donations from the medical supplies field, which last year donated $114,000 to his reelection campaign, more than was given to any other member of Congress.
“This is about saving lives; it’s about helping patients,” said Paulsen, who added that the industry provides high-paying jobs for the state.