No fewer than half a dozen major players have emerged among the ranks of pro-Republican business PACs in this election cycle. But while their 42-day pre-general election campaign finance reports are now available for all to see, they continue to play it close with respect to their big-picture plans.
In surveying the 2012 campaign cash landscape in Minnesota, it’s not immediately obvious who’s going to help Republican legislators defend their majorities.
In the 2010 gubernatorial contest, independent expenditure groups played a crucial role in Mark Dayton’s narrow victory.
Leaders and activists in the Republican Party of Minnesota haven’t had much time to think about elections lately. In a whirlwind series of events, the party lost its chairman, deputy chairman and secretary/treasurer in the span of three months amid mounting questions about the party’s finances.
It was just a 176-word campaign email, but Sen. Mike Parry hit all the right notes: attacking Gov. Mark Dayton’s child care unionization order; lambasting labor; providing links to news coverage; and taking aim at the next opponent on his political horizon, DFL U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, whose congressional seat Parry hopes to claim in 2012.
Supporting Michele Bachmann’s presidential bid wasn’t necessarily an easy decision for David FitzSimmons. While the three-term Republican congresswoman would seem a natural choice for FitzSimmons, who chairs the Republican Party in her home 6th District, he was squarely in the Ron Paul camp during the 2008 election and worked for his campaign.
Facing a contest that has typically been labeled by most election analysts and pollsters as a "toss-up," third-party groups are pulling in millions of dollars from donors, national organizations, unions and corporations looking to tip the scale in their preferred candidate's favor. The groups' advertisements and activities have been some of the most visible of this year's campaign season.
Republican nominee Tom Emmer's campaign has booked nearly $800,000 worth of network television time in the Twin Cities for the final three weeks of the governor's race. That far surpasses the air time currently reserved by his two principal rivals in the gubernatorial contest.
Minnesota's Future, a conservative political organization, violated Minnesota's campaign finance rules by failing to properly disclose the names of its donors, according to a complaint filed by Common Cause Minnesota.
As of the July 19 pre-primary filing deadline, Minnesota's Future had just over $800 in its bank account. Its only expenditures this year were $10 for postage and $4.81 for Caribou Coffee.
Jeff Larson, one of the country's leading Republican consultants, has created a new independent political expenditure group called Minnesota's Future. The Associated Press reports that Larson has registered the organization with the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt 527 organization to support "pro-business candidates" in the state.
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